Stay Rough and Tough: Prevent Top Health Threats
OK guys, we’ve heard it all before. As we age, men’s risk factors for certain diseases or conditions increase and we’ve got to do something. For purposes of this article, let’s talk about our risk for two in particular, lung disease and diabetes, and what can be done if you’re male and between the ages of 30 and 55.
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately eight of 10 lung cancer deaths are attributable to smoking. The message here is clear. STOP SMOKING. Lung cancer is one of few cancers that can often be prevented simply by not smoking. And remember, people who don’t smoke can also get lung cancer from secondhand smoke. Obviously, remove yourself from situations and locations where you might be exposed to secondhand smoke.
Men at high risk for lung cancer may consider talking to their doctor about ways to reduce their risk of lung cancer. Low dose CT scanning may be appropriate for early detection of lung cancer in some individuals. Testing could help current or former smokers with a 30 pack-year history. A pack-year is one pack of cigarettes per day per year. Here are two examples from The American Cancer Society of 30-pack year histories:
- One pack per day for 30 years = 30 pack-year history
- Two packs per day for 15 years = 30 pack-year history
Smoking can also cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an umbrella term that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD, which causes breathing difficulty, is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S.
And for you cigar connoisseurs, consider this: The National Cancer Institute reports that cigar smokers have increased risk for developing lung cancer. The Institute says ALL tobacco products are harmful and there’s no safe level of tobacco use.
Men are often unaware of the hidden dangers associated with diabetes. According to the National Institutes of Health, diabetes can affect you in three ways:
- Your physical health, particularly your heart, nerves and kidneys, can be threatened by diabetes. You can also lose muscle mass. If not properly diagnosed or treated, diabetes can lead to amputation, blindness or even death.
- Your mental health can be affected, as people with diabetes are at a greater risk for depression and mood swings.
- Diabetes can affect sexual function and your sexual health. Diabetes can cause low testosterone, erectile dysfunction, fatigue and lead to a diminished interest in sex.
Be proactive and determine your risk for diabetes. Be aware of these risk factors and talk to your doctor if you suspect you might be at risk:
- Obesity and being overweight
- Poor sleep habits, insufficient sleep and exhaustion
- Over age 45
- High blood pressure
- Sedentary or inactive lifestyle
- Abnormal blood fat levels (high triglycerides or low HDL)
- African-American, Latino, Asian American or Pacific Islander
- Certain genetic markers make you more susceptible to diabetes
BayCare offers a variety of diabetes education programs to help ensure you have the best tools to help manage this chronic disease. For more information or a physician referral, call (855) 404-3339 or find a doctor near you.