Men’s Health – Top 4 diseases to look out for

By Island Hospital   |   Jun 3, 2021 4:02:31 PM

It is known that when it comes to men and women, there are many differences that set them apart, especially health-wise

However, even if you are feeling in the pink of health, being aware of the top threats to your (men’s) health can help you keep up with good health, and more importantly prevent these diseases from happening.

About one out of every three adult males experience some form of cardiovascular disease, making this one of the most serious of men’s health issues. On average, men develop heart disease at least 10 years earlier compared to women. As such, it is crucial to know the early signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease and know what to do to reduce your risk.

Learn more about heart disease here Know the Characteristics of Heart Disease

There are multiple factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease, such as:

  • Smoking
  • Poor diet
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Lifestyle – stress
  • Lack of physical activity
  • High cholesterol or high blood pressure
  • Weight issues

Having heart disease may also cause erectile dysfunction (ED). Having said that, having sexual problems such as ED, may be an early warning sign of developing cardiovascular disease.

Read more about ED here Erectile Dysfunction: This is not the END

In older men, common health issues develop within the prostate gland. Several medical problems can affect the prostate, including the following:

Prostatitis is a common swelling or inflammation of the prostate. This condition commonly occurs in males below the age of 50.

Acute prostatitis is a sudden inflammation of the prostate which can be due to a bacterial infection. It appears suddenly and clears up quickly with appropriate antibiotic treatment. When prostate inflammation lasts for longer than 3 months, it is known as chronic prostatitis, or chronic pelvic pain syndrome.

Enlarged prostate
An enlarged prostate, also known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is the most common prostate problem more prevalent in men over 50 years old.

When the gland becomes enlarged, it pinches the urethra, the tube that carries urine and causes discomfort. The narrowing of the urethra and a reduced ability to empty the bladder causes many of the problems linked with this condition. As this condition persists, the bladder may become weaker and be unable to empty properly.

An enlarged prostate makes it difficult to urinate and, in very serious cases, can prevent urination entirely. This is a condition called urinary retention, which requires urgent medical evaluation. If a person is unable to urinate at all, they should seek medical attention immediately.

Symptoms of prostate problems include difficulty with urination or bladder control. These may include the following:

  • Poor bladder control – frequent urination
  • Frequent urge to urinate – sometimes with only very small amount of urine
  • Difficulty starting the urine stream, or stopping and starting the stream while urinating
  • A weak dribbling urine stream
  • Pain or burning sensation while urinating
  • Traces of blood in urine or semen
  • Urine with an unusual odour or colour

Prostate problems may lead to urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and even kidney failure, and may also cause issues with sexual function such as painful ejaculation

One of the most common types of cancer, most prostate cancers grow slowly and are confined to the prostate gland, where they may not cause serious harm. However, while some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or even no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly.

Prostate cancer that's detected early — when it's still confined to the prostate gland — has the best chance for successful treatment.

Screening for prostate cancer requires a digital rectal and a blood test for PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen).

Early stages of prostate cancer may cause no signs or symptoms but may cause symptoms in its more advanced stages. The following may be warning signs of prostate cancer.

  • Experiencing trouble urinating
  • Pain in bone and joints
  • Decreased force in the stream of urine
  • Discomfort in the pelvic area
  • Experiencing erectile dysfunction
  • Blood in semen

Early detection is a key factor for diagnosing and defeating prostate cancer. Men over 40 should talk with their doctor to see if screening is recommended for them based on their individual health needs.

Learn more about prostate cancer here Dr Sritharan’s live talk on “Small but Dangerous: What is Prostate Cancer and how can I prevent it?”

Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is a common problem that men report to their doctor. ED is defined as trouble getting or keeping an erection that's firm enough for sex.

While it is not rare for a man to have some problems with erections from time to time, ED that is progressive or happens routinely with sex is not normal, and it should be treated.

ED can happen due to many reasons, and most often when blood flow in the penis is limited or nerves are harmed. Stress or emotional reasons may also be the reason for ED.

Symptoms of ED is finding it hard to get or keep an erection that is firm enough for sex. When ED happens too regularly and becomes a bothersome problem, you should seek medical attention, as it may be a major warning sign of more serious illness such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension or diabetes.

ED also causes low self-esteem, depression and distress for the man and his partner. If ED is affecting a man's well-being or his relationships, it should be treated. Treatment aims to fix or enhance erectile function, help circulatory health and improve the quality of a man's life.

It is crucial to find the cause of your ED, as this will help direct your treatment options. Therefore it is wise to make an appointment with your family doctor or a consultant Urologist for a physical exam and lab tests.

Finding the cause(s) of your ED will help treat the problem and help with your overall well-being. As a rule, what's good for your heart health is good for your sexual health.

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Dr. S. Sritharan

Urology/Men’s Health
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Dr. Khoo Say Chuan

Urology/Men’s Health
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