Certain diseases or general health problems affect men and women equally and produce nearly identical symptoms. However, there are always exceptions. Other types of diseases are unique to men or affect men differently than women. Because of this, it’s crucial for men to know the types of symptoms they should watch for, rather than simply understanding a general list of adult symptoms.
Understanding Men’s Health
In general, disease doesn’t discriminate. Men and women are both vulnerable to many of the same illnesses. However, anatomical or hormonal differences between the sexes can lead to different consequences or even make certain problems exclusive to men or women. Let’s take a closer look at common health issues men may experience:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Heart disease
- Mental health problems
When you think of cancer in men, prostate cancer is likely the first thing to come to mind. As a form of cancer unique to men and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men, prostate cancer definitely has a reputation. However, any type of cancer is still dangerous. Lung cancer causes the most cancer-related deaths in men every year and even cancers with high recovery rates take a toll on your quality of life. Ask your doctor if you’re at risk for developing cancer and how you can reduce your chances.
2) Autoimmune Diseases
What happens when your immune system turns on you and begins attacking your body? You quickly develop an autoimmune disease. While autoimmune diseases and their exact manifestations will vary, the general symptoms of pain, fatigue, digestive issues, and just overall discomfort are quite common. While doctors have theories about what causes your immune system to attack your body, no one knows for sure and thus no cure exists. The best you can do is work with your doctor to develop a long-term, sustainable plan to manage the disease and boost your quality of life.
Pro Tip: Some medications can unintentionally mess with your immune system, potentially leading to an autoimmune disease if left unchecked. Talk to your doctor about changing prescriptions if necessary.
3) Heart Disease
Heart disease and heart attacks are both very serious and very easily fatal without immediate treatment. Certain lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and eating a healthier diet, boost your heart health and will reduce your risk of experiencing a heart attack. But some risk factors are unavoidable. Some ethnicities experience heart disease at higher rates than others, and men in general tend to be more vulnerable to heart problems than women.
A heart attack is an emergency situation. If you believe you are experiencing a heart attack, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately. Do not ignore your symptoms.
4) Mental Health Problems
Mental health concerns for men can take different forms than mental health care for women. Likely due to societal pressure, men pursue mental treatment far less frequently than women and are more likely to attempt self-medication through substance abuse. This only exacerbates the problem and contributes to deteriorating mental health. Individual men suffering from mental struggles should know that the brain is an organ, just like any other part of the body that occasionally needs medicine or treatment. There’s no shame in getting professional help to treat your body. Meanwhile, on a larger scale, our cultural perception of mental health needs to shift. Men shouldn’t have to feel pressure to “man up” and control their emotional struggles alone. By working to further destigmatize mental health treatment, people who really need help will be more likely to get it.
Strategies for Men’s Health
Caring for your own health starts with educating yourself about your risk factors. Learn the symptoms of common diseases men experience and work to form healthy habits to help reduce your risk. Work with your doctor for a personalized health plan to keep you in excellent health.
Join the conversation to learn more about men’s health and what you may be at risk to develop.