10 Health Risks That Every Male Runner Needs to Know
He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.
Although men are living longer than ever before, they still need to watch their health and report signs or symptoms of potential diseases to their healthcare provider. Historically, men tend to consume more alcohol, consume less nutritious food and experience high-levels of stress in the workplace.
As a gender, studies suggest that men are more reluctant to visit their physician and may seek treatment much later than their female counterparts. To maintain a high quality of life, it is vital for men to recognise the diseases that may affect their health.
Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy
The prostate is a gland that surrounds the bottom of the bladder and is responsible for nourishing the sperm and responds to male sex hormones. As a man ages, his prostate becomes larger and may begin to squeeze off the bladder and interrupt the flow of urine. Known as benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH, the symptoms of this non-cancerous condition can interfere with daily activities and disturb restful sleep.
Some of the signs and symptoms are the following:
- Difficulty Starting a Urine Stream
- Frequent Urination at Night Time
- Unable to Empty the Bladder
- A Weak or Narrow Urine Stream
Although women do develop colon cancer, the disease is much more common in men. Researchers have shown a correlation in colon cancer with high fat diets, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and colitis. Men who experience chronic high stress have also been found to be susceptible to colon cancer. Colonoscopies should be performed at 50 years of age for prevention.
Signs and Symptoms are as follows:
- Diarrhea or Constipation
- Frequent Bloating, Belching and Gas Pains
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Complaint of Fatigue
- Unexplained Weight Loss
- Bowels Feel Full or Do Not Empty
It has been reported that 60 percent of men over 80 years of age will acquire prostate cancer. Symptoms may be similar to BPH, but more serious signs can be experienced for prostate cancer. Men must report signs immediately for the best outcome and recovery.
- Persistent Low Back Pain
- Difficulty Starting or Stopping a Urine Stream
- Pain on Ejaculation
With regular self-examinations, a man can locate lumps or masses and report any changes in the shape of his testicles to a healthcare provider. Although this cancer is rare, it is the most common cancer in men between 15 and 34 years of age. Typically, men may locate a lump, swelling or pain on either or both testicles.
The hormone testosterone is vital for a man’s health and mental outlook. Low testosterone may cause depression, erectile dysfunction and muscle weakness. Testosterone insufficiency also appears two to three times greater in men that have other diseases and conditions such as:
- High Blood Pressure
In recent studies by Diabetes Care in 2011, researchers found a link to diabetes and low testosterone that continues to be researched further.
Although erectile dysfunction or ED becomes more common as a man ages, it is not a normal part of ageing. Maintaining an erection is a good sign of a healthy heart and arteries, and men should report any changes in sexual health to a physician.
Risks for ED can be lowered by the following:
- Exercise Daily
- Maintain a Low Fat Diet
- Abstain from Smoking
- Stay at a Healthy Weight
- Avoid Overly Processed Foods
Prostatitis or Infection of the Prostate Gland
Bacterial infections of the prostate gland can occur in a man at any age and is a painful condition that frequently requires treatment with antibiotics. Less common causes are benign tumours, trauma or BPH.
Signs and symptoms are as follows:
- Chills and Fever
- Pain in the Lower Back
- Painful, Burning Urination
- Discharge from the Penis
- Painful Ejaculation
Depression and Suppressed Anger
Although most people think of only women with depression, six million men are diagnosed with depression every year. Men tend to respond to mental health issues with aggression, irritability and anger. Depression destroys relationships, lowers the quality of life and interferes with virtually every aspect of life.
Signs and symptoms of depression in men may include:
- Loss of Interest in Life
- Irritability and Resentment
- Quick to Anger (Short Fuse)
- Unrelieved Fatigue
- Increase in Alcohol or Substance Use
- Suicidal Ideations
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number one killer of men in America is heart disease and strokes. Many factors contribute to heart disease but some risks can be eliminated with diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking.
Ensure a healthy heart and have a healthcare provider regularly check:
- Cholesterol Levels
- Blood Pressure
- A Yearly EKG
- Current Weight
Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases
Although women also experience lung disease, men seem to be more susceptible. Factors that contribute are smoking, air pollutants and second-hand smoke. Men are diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD far more than women. To increase prevention of infections or injury to the lungs, acquire a flu vaccine every year and practice good hand washing and hygiene.
Get a Yearly Checkup
It is important to always report signs and symptoms of changes, pain, swelling or sexual health issues to a healthcare provider. If a disease process is caught early by a physician, the prognosis may increase markedly.
Guys, beside running, how do you stay healthy? Share with us in the comments below.