10 Health Issues Senior Men Face

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June is National Men’s Health Month, and there is no better time than to raise awareness of the issues men may face as they age. Often men are less likely to report symptoms that may be concerning and are more likely to put off regular medical check-ups and testing. Senior men should be aware of these 10 health problems in order to prevent and manage health risks:

  1. Liver Disease: Cirrhosis, alcoholic liver disease, and hepatitis B are all risks for senior men.
  2. Cardiovascular Disease: One in three men has a form of cardiovascular disease. Many men are at risk of heart attack, stroke, and hypertension.
  3. Respiratory Disease: Lung cancer is a risk for men, especially those exposed to smoke, asbestos, and other hazards.
  4. Alzheimer’s Disease: Memory-related diseases like Alzheimer’s can impair men’s decision-making abilities and considerably increase health risks.
  5. Unintentional Injuries: Accidents that occur during work, physical labor, exercise, and other activities can be dangerous for senior men, especially those with health conditions that may decrease bone strength.
  6. Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes is a risk for senior men, which, if unmanaged, can have serious side effects like heart problems or circulation issues that cause a need for amputation.
  7. Skin Cancer: Men older than 50 are at an elevated risk of developing skin cancer and are twice as likely as older women to get the disease.
  8. STIs: Several common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have reached historic highs among elderly populations in the U.S., including chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis; sexually active senior men should practice safe sex to guard against STIs.
  9. Prostate Cancer: One of the most common cancers among men is prostate cancer. When this cancer is caught early, it is quite treatable.
  10. Influenza/Pneumonia: Aging diminishes the immune system, making seniors more susceptible to contagious diseases like the flu or pneumonia.

To maintain good health as seniors, men should get screenings as recommended by medical professionals. Examples of annual checkups and screenings that are recommended for men over 65 are:

  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
  • Diabetes
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Blood pressure
  • Fecal occult blood (stool-based) test
  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
  • Lung cancer screening (for those who regularly smoked in the past 15 years)
  • Dental exam
  • Eye exam
  • Hearing test

Men should also have a colonoscopy performed every ten years and should be periodically screened for conditions they may be prone to due to genetics or lifestyle.

  • Healthy living for senior men and prevention strategies include:
  • Eating a diet rich in fiber, lean protein, vitamins, minerals, and whole grains, and participating in regular physical activity to maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • Keeping up with annual physicals and screening and getting recommended shots annually
  • Paying attention to symptoms and report any to a doctor
  • Managing stress, exercising the brain, and socializing with others
  • Following common sense prevention strategies: Use sunscreen regularly; take care and get assistance when climbing ladders; and don’t push beyond limits when doing yard work, snow shoveling, etc.
  • Avoiding smoking and drinking to excess
  • Carefully following the directions for medications

Remember also that depression and anxiety can affect men, so watch for symptoms and mention them to the doctor. With awareness, many health problems can be prevented or detected early, improving the outcome for treatment of diseases including cancer, heart disease, and depression.


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Sources: ClearCare, Forbes, WebMD, Medline Plus, Mayo Clinic, Clinical Advisor, Health in Aging