Top 9 Health Risks for Men and How to Prevent Them

August 30,2023 |
Doctor speaking to patient

In today’s world, we’re faced with a relentless number of responsibilities. This can make finding a balance between friends, family, work, and health increasingly difficult. Unfortunately, when it comes to health, men tend to put less emphasis on proactive behaviors and are less likely to see their doctors regularly. While the health and fitness industries are more prominent than ever, not everyone thinks they have the time to put these healthy habits into practice. This can increase health risks for men and lead to a lower quality of life. While some of these health risks are chronic, others can be treated. Here, we’ll go over the top nine health risks for men and how to address them.

9 Common Health Risks for Men

There are a few societal expectations and psychological pressures placed on men that can increase their risk of certain health risks. Men may feel they need to work relentlessly to make more money, support their families, and reach a certain status level. Men also tend to be less inclined to talk about physical and mental struggles, whether symptoms of a condition or psychological barriers. This can increase their risk for specific conditions and disorders. To understand the importance of being proactive, consider the most common health risks for men.

  1. Heart Disease and Stroke

    Heart disease and stroke are two leading causes of mortality among men worldwide. In fact, about one in every four male deaths in the US are due to some form of heart disease. While several factors contribute to the development of cardiovascular conditions, diet is one of the biggest risk factors. A diet high in saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium, combined with a sedentary lifestyle, can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels.

    To reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, it’s important to adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle. This includes regular physical activity, such as aerobic exercises and strength training, to maintain a healthy weight, strengthen your heart, and improve cardiovascular health. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats—with limited processed food—is also crucial. Finally, reducing stress, quitting smoking, and decreasing alcohol consumption are great ways to support a healthy heart.

  2. Diabetes

    Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition where the body becomes resistant to insulin or fails to produce enough to regulate blood sugar effectively. Unfortunately, according to the CDC, males have a higher health risk, as they’re more likely to develop type 2 diabetes at a lower weight than women. If you have a family history of diabetes, this increases your risk. However, the most notable risk factors are lifestyle habits—particularly regarding an unhealthy diet, processed foods, and sedentary habits.

    To decrease the risk of diabetes, it’s important to prioritize your health and wellness through exercise and nutrition. Regular physical activity improves insulin sensitivity and helps control blood sugar levels. A balanced diet that focuses on whole foods—while limiting sugary or ultra-processed foods—can help manage blood glucose levels. If you think you’re at risk for diabetes, see your doctor regularly for screenings.

  3. Prostate Cancer

    The prostate is a walnut-size gland in men responsible for producing seminal fluid. As you age, the prostate continues to grow. Although many men experience benign prostatic hyperplasia, others may develop prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers and one of the top health risks for men. In fact, about one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during his lifetime.

    Although the exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown, there are several risk factors that can make its onset more likely. However, early detection is still the best option for a strong prognosis. To catch prostate cancer early, undergo regular screenings with your urologist. The two screening options are the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and the digital rectal exam (DRE). The PSA test measures the level of a protein produced by the prostate, and an elevated PSA level may indicate the need for further evaluation. The DRE allows a doctor to feel the prostate for abnormalities or irregularities. If abnormalities are detected, a biopsy may be recommended for further evaluation. If you’re over the age of 40, talk to your doctor about scheduling a prostate exam.

  4. Alcohol Use

    According to the CDC, men are more likely than women to engage in binge drinking or excessive alcohol consumption, resulting in alcohol-related death or hospitalization. Over time, chronic alcohol abuse can result in liver disease, heart problems, mental health disorders, weakened immune systems, and more.

    If you don’t have a healthy relationship with alcohol, it’s worth looking at quitting altogether. Today, several alcohol-free options are available to support a strong social life without the negative risks of alcohol. Otherwise, try to adhere to moderate drinking guidelines, defined as up to one or two drinks per day for men.

  5. Liver Disease

    Liver disease is a blanket term that can include several conditions. Some of these are cirrhosis, fatty liver disease, hepatitis, and liver cancer. Unfortunately, men tend to be at a higher risk of developing liver diseases due to certain lifestyle factors and behaviors. In fact, men are twice as likely as women to have primary liver cancer and are more likely to die from chronic liver disease than women.

    The best way to protect your liver health is to avoid excessive alcohol consumption—especially if you have a family history of liver problems or substance abuse. Healthy lifestyle habits can also help, along with regular check-ups and blood tests for early detection.

  6. Respiratory Diseases

    Respiratory diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer, pose significant health risks for everyone. However, men tend to be more susceptible to several of these major lung diseases. This risk increases for men who smoke or are exposed to environmental pollutants or harmful chemicals.

    Quitting smoking is the best way to reduce your risk of respiratory disease, as smoking is one of the leading causes of severe lung disorders. However, if you work in an industry that increases your exposure to harmful substances and pollutants, it’s also important to follow the appropriate safety guidelines and wear protective gear to minimize the risk of respiratory issues. Regular exercise can also help improve lung function and capacity.

  7. Depression and Suicide

    Mental health has been an increasingly hot topic in today’s society, and for good reason. Close to 60 million adults in the US currently live with one or more mental illnesses. However, 40% of men feel like they can’t (or won’t) talk about their mental health. This results in many men suffering in silence, often due to societal expectations and the “traditional” ideas of masculinity. But this can have tragic results. Depression can affect men differently, and when untreated, it carries a higher risk of suicide. For example, the suicide rate among males in 2021 was about four times higher than among females. If you or someone you love is suffering from depression, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional for help.

  8. Unintentional Injuries

    Another one of the top 10 health risks for men is unintentional injuries or accidents. This includes things like car accidents, motorcycle accidents, sports-related injuries, or even workplace accidents. The reason is that men are more likely to engage in risky behaviors that increase the likelihood of an accident or unintentional injury. Men are also more likely to work in industries that carry higher physical risks, such as construction, manufacturing, and transportation. To reduce your risk of serious harm, it’s important to prioritize safety in your daily life.

  9. Erectile Dysfunction

    Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition characterized by the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual activity. While it can affect men of any age, the risk increases as you get older. Although this is one of the top health risks for men, there are several treatment options available. The important thing is to be honest and open with your doctor about when you begin experiencing symptoms. Treatment options for men with erectile dysfunction include lifestyle changes, managing stress, and discontinuing or adjusting medications that may be causing ED. Medical interventions are also available to help you regain control of your sex life.

Many men feel uncomfortable discussing symptoms with their doctor, but doing so early can drastically increase the likelihood of a positive outcome. When detected early, treatment for prostate cancer can be extremely effective. The same is said about the common health risks for men discussed above. Similarly, you should regularly see your doctor and urologist to undergo preventative screenings and help catch any abnormalities before they show symptoms. Just remember, seeing a urologist is nothing to be afraid or ashamed of. It’s a simple process with some routine tests that can help you take control of your life.

If you are diagnosed with an underlying disorder or any urologic condition, your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you as soon as possible. To help, Byram Healthcare offers a wide selection of high-quality urologic supplies that can be discreetly delivered to your door. Browse our urology product catalog today or call one of our representatives for more information.