Doylestown Health encourages men to take proactive care of their health, be aware of potential concerns and take early action to address them.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), males in the U.S. can expect to live five years less, on average, than females born in the same year.
Why might this be?
One reason could be that men don’t seek health care like women do. In fact, men are about three times less likely to see a doctor in the past five years than women, according to findings from a 2018 study in the American Journal of Men’s Health. Part of the reason is that men are often guided by social constructs indicating that seeking health care is isn’t masculine and shows weakness, the study says.
How Do Men and Women's Health Needs Differ?
There are some absolutes when it comes to taking care of your health no matter what your gender. Everyone should eat a healthy, balanced diet, exercise regularly, avoid tobacco, have routine check-ups with their doctor and unplug from electronics now and again. But just as regular gynecological care is essential for a woman’s health, men should be proactive about screenings for diseases and conditions that are specific to their gender.
What Are Some Health Issues that Affect Men?
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It produces the seminal fluid that transports sperm. Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. Symptoms include trouble urinating, blood in semen, erectile dysfunction and discomfort in the pelvic area.
While some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or even no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly. "There are usually no symptoms with prostate cancer, so screening is vital because early detection provides the greatest chance for cure," according to Doylestown Health urologist Steven Flashner, MD.
The testicles produce male sex hormones and sperm for reproduction. While rare, testicular cancer is the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 35, but can occur at any age. Symptoms include swelling, lump or enlargement in either testicle or groin area, a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum and enlargement or tenderness of the breasts.
Men should see their doctor to determine whether a lump needs further screening via an ultrasound or blood test.
A hernia occurs when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place. While women can get a hernia, certain types of hernias are more common in men, such as an inguinal hernia that is located in the groin.
Risk factors for a hernia include obesity, family history, chronic cough and smoking. Most hernias are not immediately life-threatening, but can be painful and do not go away on their own. The highly skilled general surgeons at Doylestown Health offer minimally invasive robotic technology for the repair of hernias.
"Hernia surgeries can be open, laparoscopic or robotic. We tailor the approach to the patient, considering the hernia's size and location and the patient's medical and surgical history," says general surgeon Brian Pellini, MD.
While certainly not only a men's health issue, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States, according to the CDC. "The risk factors you cannot control include your age, gender and family history," says cardiologist Joseph McGarvey, Jr., MD. "In general, men develop heart disease about 10 years earlier than women." The cardiologists and cardiac surgeons at Doylestown Health are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of heart conditions, offering state-of-the-art technology and compassionate care to both men and women.
Symptoms of a heart attack may differ among males and females. Men are more likely to have chest pain, including squeezing and pressure. Women may experience more subtle symptoms, including pain unrelated to the chest, in the neck, jaw or shoulder, abdominal discomfort, shortness of breath and nausea or vomiting.
Men: Awareness Is the Key
Knowing your risk factors for common diseases is the first step to becoming healthier. Make an appointment today to visit your doctor, follow through on all recommended tests and screenings, and be your own health advocate.
About Primary Care
Our board-certified Doylestown Health Primary Care physicians provide preventive healthcare, healthy lifestyle education and compassionate treatment of illness for all members of the family. As a partner in health, we strive to meet the unique needs of each patient through routine preventive care, referrals to medical specialists if needed and patient advocacy if the care of a specialist becomes necessary.