Did you know that men are more likely than women to ignore or downplay symptoms when they visit their healthcare provider? Staying quiet, however, may raise the risk for serious health problems. Even if you feel fine, visiting your provider annually is an important way to catch problems ahead of time, and provide you with a comfortable environment to discuss any health concerns you may have.
Take charge of your health this Men’s Health Month. Consider reviewing these common health concerns with your provider and know we’re here to help you get the care you need.
- Breathlessness. Struggling to catch your breath more often than usual can mean different things, but heart disease is a common culprit. Shortness of breath with extreme fatigue could be a tip-off that a heart attack is pending. You may want to get your blood pressure checked to rule out hypertension, which contributes to heart disease even though it may not cause any symptoms. If you are experiencing a heart attack, call 911 immediately and know that our highly-trained specialists are here to manage any health concerns you may have.
- Snoring marathons. Maybe you think your partner’s complaints about your snoring are exaggerated, but don’t laugh them off. Loud snoring with frequent pauses in breathing could mean you have obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes or stroke. Making lifestyle changes like losing weight can help, or your provider may recommend a sleep study to determine the best treatment.
- Hearing hassles. Men are twice as likely as women to have hearing loss, especially after age 60, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. But it can be hard for men to fess up to this age-related problem. Keeping hearing loss a secret may make it harder to treat later on and leave you feeling isolated. Your provider can recommend an audiologist who can evaluate you and recommend a hearing aid if necessary.
- Bathroom issues. Having more frequent urges to go to the bathroom or feeling like you can’t fully empty your bladder may point to prostate problems. The prostate is the gland that wraps around the urethra, which transports urine out of the bladder. Watch for blood in your urine. This may be a sign of an enlarged prostate or cancer of the prostate, kidney or bladder. Catching these conditions early can improve treatment outcomes. Men over 50 are most likely to have prostate problems, and your provider can help you decide if you need any prostate screening or diagnostic tests.
- Moodiness. If you often feel irritable or have lost interest in things you once enjoyed, you may be having more than a few bad days. Anxiety and depression frequently go undiagnosed in men. In part, that’s because men’s symptoms can differ from women’s. Instead of overwhelming sadness, depression in men may trigger anger or self-destructive behaviors. Dismissing these symptoms can steal your happiness and raise your risk of suicide. If your family and friends can’t cheer you up, find a medical professional who can recommend therapy or medication to help you cope.
- Lackluster sex. If your libido has crashed or you have trouble getting or keeping an erection, don’t assume your sex life is over. Sexual problems are often treatable. Don’t shy away from talking about sex with your provider. Erectile dysfunction, for example, may be caused by diabetes, thyroid dysfunction or heart disease. Your provider can help you get to the bottom of any underlying condition and recommend treatment so you can regain pleasure in the bedroom.
Remember, as we move forward during this uncertain time, your health and wellness are our top priority. Investing in your health today can help improve your quality of life in the years to come.