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June is National Men’s Health month and it’s important to shine light on some health issues that are often thought of as just women’s issues when, in fact, men can experience them too. They’re not often talked about from the men’s side and may go unnoticed. John Kiriklakis, MD, FACP, Internal Medicine at NorthShore, discusses what men should be on the lookout for.
Osteoporosis Osteoporosis is common in women and causes the bones to become thin and vulnerable to breaks. Approximately 2 million American adult men have osteoporosis. Since osteoporosis can have no symptoms, it is recommended that a bone density test be done to show potential bone loss. Osteoporosis can be prevented with weight-bearing and strength-training exercises as well as a diet rich in calcium.
Eating Disorders Women are two times more likely to have an eating disorder than men – but there are approximately 10 million American men who had one according to the National Eating Disorder Association. Men can experience both body consciousness as well as body dysmorphia, often seen in some bodybuilders, as they are obsessed with the size of their muscle. Men are less likely to seek treatment but they can benefit just as well from therapy. If you think someone you know has an eating disorder, express your concerns and provide support.
Breast Cancer While it is rare, there are more than 2,000 American men who are diagnosed with breast cancer every year according to the American Cancer Society. Men experience the same symptoms as women: a lump or swelling, nipple inversion, nipple discharge or breast enlargement. If any of these symptoms are noticed, men are to go to their physician right away as early detection is key in survival. Breast cancer risk can be minimized with a healthy, low-fat diet, regular exercise and a smoke-free life.
Baby Blues It has been found that nearly 10% of new dads suffer from some kind of depression. This may start during their partner’s first trimester, but is most common three-to-six months after birth. Men tend to not talk about how they are feeling and new parents should talk about how they are feeling during and after birth.
Men of all ages are also at risk for the human papilloma virus (HPV). Dr. Kiriklakis stresses the importance of young males getting vaccinated for HPV from 18-26-year-olds to lower risk of anal and oral cancer. To detect or prevent, men should and should ask their primary care physician for testing for those who are sexually active.