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Published on May 09, 2018

the big 10 for men

The big 10 for men

Devin Wenrich, MD

No matter your age, it's important to follow a healthy lifestyle. According to Devin Wenrich, MD, Gundersen Family Medicine in Onalaska, "Men need to take responsibility for their health. Getting regular checkups, watching your weight, exercising regularly, not smoking or using drugs, and drinking alcohol in moderation can help prevent many serious diseases."

1. CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE

This remains the number one cause of death among men. Symptoms include chest pressure or tightness, pain radiating to left shoulder/neck, lightheadedness, profuse sweating and nausea. If found early, this can be treated with medications. Regular exams can help detect signs and symptoms early.

2. DIABETES

U.S. obesity rates are leading to more diabetes cases. It is important to properly manage your diabetes. Left untreated, diabetes can cause blindness, heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and possible loss of limbs. Signs of diabetes can go undetected for years without regular visits to your primary care provider.

3. PROSTATE CANCER

Yearly screening, between the ages of 55 to 69, is recommended by the American Urological Association to detect and treat prostate cancer.

4. COLON CANCER

Routine colon cancer screening is safe and effective, and begins at the age of 50 for men without a family history of colon cancer or other health reasons for earlier detection. Screening is done by either 4 colonoscopy or stool testing.

5. ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION (ED)

This is a common problem for men but can be a sign of other underlying health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or depression. ED can be a significant stressor for the patient and put a strain on relationships. While it can be difficult to discuss with your provider, medications are available to help correct the problem.

6. MENTAL HEALTH (DEPRESSION)

Suicide remains a leading cause of death among men, especially men between 45 and 65. Depression can be a debilitating disease that can affect job satisfaction, relationships and overall quality of life. Depression can be treated with counseling or medications prescribed by a primary care provider.

7. HYPERTENSION

A healthy blood pressure reading is less than 140/90. Anything greater requires attention. Hypertension can increase your risk for heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and even death. Routine visits to your primary care provider can monitor this. While you may feel normal despite an elevated blood pressure, you could be slowly damaging your kidneys, brain, heart and eyes.

8. ALCOHOL ABUSE

Excessive alcohol consumption, which includes five or more drinks in one sitting, can lead to liver disease or failure, and increased risk of mouth, esophagus, throat and liver cancer. Excessive alcohol consumption also can increase risk of depression and insomnia or sleep deprivation, decreases your ability to make proper decisions, and can lead to accidental injuries and death.

9. LUNG DISEASE

Lung cancer is the No. 1 killer of men among all cancers, but often goes unnoticed. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is often caused by smoking and leads to increased risk of pneumonia, hospitalizations and decreased quality of life. If you smoke, smoking cessation programs are available to help you quit. Lung cancer screenings are also recommended to help with early detection of lung disease or lung cancer for those with increased risk.

10. CHRONIC PAIN

Chronic pain in your back, knees, hips or nerves are major causes of decreased quality of life and function. This has also been a cause of the opioid epidemic as well, through increased prescription and use of opioids< for pain management. There are several treatments available to manage pain. Discuss with your primary physician what can be done to control your pain and help live an active life.

To schedule an appointment, call your primary care provider or the Gundersen Clinic nearest you.

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System staff deliver great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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