A British national survey found that women were three times more likely to see a doctor on a regular basis than men, though men on average die younger than women. Trying to get a man to a doctor can be harder than pulling teeth, says dr Kevin Polsley.
So, why do men hate it so? “I’ve found that many guys don’t see it as a priority. They have a lot going on and adding one more thing isn’t worth it,” says the UK doctor listing the top five most common diseases men face — heart attacks, sleep apnea, hypertension, high cholesterol and colon cancer.
Kevin Polsley of Loyola University lists heart disease on top of the five illnesses men face and puts it it higher up if men are smokers. Coupled with diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, Polsley sayd the disease needs immediate attention. Beyond exercise and dietcare, men should start annual screenings in preventing heart attacks.
Next, he lists sleep apnea that affects about 18 million Americans but rarely detected as symptoms like snoring, waking up frequently in the night to urinate, headaches in the morning or waking up with a dry mouth. If it continues undetected or untreated, it may result in diseases like high blood pressure, heart failure, heart attacks and stroke. Polsley suggests weight loss as the best way to address the problem and recommends a sleep test to determine the cause of the sleep apnea.
Hypertension occupies his next priority and if there is a family history coupled with obesity, then men should focus on their high blood pressure. While, weight loss can decrease the risk of developing the disease, a low-sodium or salt intake can help to battle high blood pressure. Not merely avoiding salt but changing the lifestyle is the mantra, he says.
Slightly related to the above is high cholesterol levels in the body that has a strong genetic relevance but a man can develop even without any family history. Besides diet and exercise, eating fish or taking a fish oil supplement has often helped to reduce cholesterol, according to Polsley.
Finally, men do suffer from colon cancer but rarely detected at its early stage. A colonoscopy for every 10 years after crossing 50 years of age is recommended, if there is a family history, according to Polsley. Every man and woman should have routine colonoscopies, said Polsley.
“Prevention isn’t 100 percent, but we can address issues and keep an eye out for warning signs,” says Polsley. “If you wait till you have a health crisis, it’s no longer preventive care, it’s secondary care and that may include surgery and/or hospital stay. Instead of making a simple change in diet and lifestyle a person will have to make significant changes and often be on medications.”