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What is Men’s Health?

Men's health is defined as the state of social, mental, and physical well-being of men, and comprises a wide variety of problems that are exclusive to men or that impact men differently than women. Men’s health specifically focuses on problems and diseases that affect only men, such as erectile dysfunction, enlarged prostate (BPH), prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and penis disorders.

Men are more likely than women to get sick from serious health issues. Their mortality level is also much higher. Men die in higher numbers than women from almost every non-sex-specific health issue. In general, for every two women who die, three men die. This number holds good among kids too. In deaths due to drowning or accidents, boys account for two out of three deaths. Compared to women, men visit physicians less often, have shorter visits, and only attend when their condition is in its later stages. Hence, screening and tests done during a men’s health wellness check can uncover hidden health issues and pave the way for a healthy life.

How Often Should Men Get a Physical Examination/Wellness Examination Done?

The general recommendation to start with regular wellness examination is at age 35 if you are in good health. After that if you are feeling good, going once every few years is sufficient until age 50. Then, once you complete the half-century mark, an annual checkup is recommended given age-related health problems that become more common. These would include:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Prostate cancer
  • Reduced testosterone level
  • Colon cancer

However, more frequent annual exams/screening may be required depending upon your family’s health history, your personal health history, or your lifestyle habits, such as smoking.

What Does a Men’s Health Annual Exam Involve?

An annual men’s health exam typically involves routine tests regardless of gender, age, or sex, along with more specific exams related to men and individuals assigned male at birth (AMAB) or your age. These include:

  • Blood pressure
  • Body temperature
  • Heart rate
  • Breathing and heart sounds
  • Ears
  • Eyes
  • Weight and height
  • Blood tests to evaluate cholesterol, blood sugar, and testosterone levels, among others
  • Prostate-specific antigen test to screen for prostate cancer
  • Digital rectal exam
  • Testicular examination to check for testicular cancer
  • Colonoscopy to check for colon cancer

What are the Common Men’s Health Issues to Watch Out For?

Some of the common men’s health problems include:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Lungs/respiratory diseases
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Low testosterone
  • Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues

What are the Ways to Manage Men’s Health?

Some of the common steps to be taken for better management of your health include:

  • Eat Healthy: Some of the healthy food habits include:
    • Consume plenty of lean protein. This includes foods such as beans, fish, and chicken.
    • Consume enough whole grains. Aim for three servings daily.
    • Consume your veggies and fruits. Aim for three cups of veggies and two cups of fruits daily.
    • Limit your trans/saturated fats. This includes things like red meats, high-fat dairy, and processed foods.
    • Drink plenty of water. Preferably, men should aim for at least a gallon a day.
  • Stay active: Being active and slim can assist in reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health issues. It can also improve your mental health. Some of the ways to achieve this include:
    • Regular stretching. Doing a quick stretching session before and after your workout
    • Thirty minutes of exercise daily. In a week, you should get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity.
    • Two strength-training sessions weekly. This includes things such as weightlifting and bodyweight exercises.
  • Protect your mental health: Your mental health is equally as significant as your physical health. Here are some methods to protect it:
    • Get sufficient sleep. Most adults require at least 7 hours of undisturbed sleep at night.
    • Find a method to de-stress. This may include exercising, spending time in nature, or recreational activities, such as reading, gardening, playing games, meditation, and dancing are all great options.
    • Connect with other people. Loneliness can severely affect your health. Socialization with friends, colleagues, and many times a romantic relationship can also help to maintain your mental health.
  • Refrain from using tobacco and drink moderately. Men are more likely to get addicted to tobacco products and have higher rates of alcohol use. Some of the ways to manage these addictive things include:
    • Limit alcohol consumption to two drinks a day or less.
    • Keep away from tobacco. With all the negative side effects (including a higher risk for infertility and erectile dysfunction), staying away from tobacco as much as possible is an intelligent decision.
  • Annual wellness exam: A 2023 survey by Cleveland Clinic discovered that almost half of men, about 44 percent, do not get an annual physical exam. Regular checkups and screening tests can detect diseases early when it is easiest to treat and thereby prevent any health issues from aggravating. Hence, an annual wellness exam can go a long way in making sure your health is on track.
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