Setting aside anatomical and hormonal differences, the reckless behavior of men is often accountable for their reduced lifespan. In fact, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average American man will live to age 76, while the average American woman will live to age 81.
Top Diseases in Men
Careless behaviors can cause deadly ailments. In line with this topic, the information below addresses the most dangerous diseases that kill men.
Heart disease is the leading killer of men in the United States. If too much love kills, an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, and obesity can end lives faster.
To function without problems, the heart requires adequate blood to supply oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. The coronary arteries — which start at the base of the aorta (the largest artery in the body) and spread across the surface of the heart — provides the heart’s needs. However, the coronary arteries are at risk for narrowing. When plaques (cholesterol deposits) build up inside the artery, chest pain (angina) can occur due to reduced blood flow to the heart.
A heart attack, otherwise known as myocardial infarction, happens when a plaque ruptures and allows a blood clot to form. The blood clot obstructs the artery, preventing blood flow to the heart, and ultimately, threatening the person’s life.
The controllable risk factors for heart disease include tobacco use, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Read Heart Disease Prevention: Lifestyle Changes To Adopt Today for more information on reducing heart attack risks.
The American Lung Association notes that lung cancer is the top cancer killer in both men and women in the United States. About 154,050 Americans were expected to die from lung cancer in 2018, accounting for 25 percent of all cancer-related deaths.
Tobacco smoking continues to be the leading cause of lung cancer development. About 80 percent of lung cancer deaths result from smoking, and many others are because of exposure to secondhand smoke. Smokers with other known risk factors, such as exposure to radon and asbestos, are at a much higher risk.
Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in men, and an approximated 1 in 6 men in the U.S. will receive a diagnosis during their lifetime. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), about 1 in 41 men will die of prostate cancer. Fortunately, although a serious and life-threatening disease, most men diagnosed with prostate cancer survive. Over 2.9 million Americans with prostate cancer are still alive today.
The Mayo Clinic recommends these necessary lifestyle changes, which may play a role in reducing a man’s risk of prostate cancer:
- Eating a low-fat diet
- Increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables
- Reducing dairy consumption
- Sustaining a healthy weight
- Exercising most days of the week
Five ways to protect colorectal health include the following, according to the ACS:
- Eat plenty of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits
- Get regular exercise
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Stop smoking
- Limit alcohol consumption
Pancreatic cancer progresses at a rapid pace, and it is one of the most dangerous types of cancer. The latest statistics from the ACS show that the 5-year survival rates are 34 percent for localized pancreatic cancer; 12 percent for regional pancreatic cancer; and 3 percent for distant pancreatic cancer.
While the exact cause of several cancers remains unknown, scientists mark obesity and smoking as risk factors for pancreatic cancer.
“Men are more likely than women to drink excessively. Excessive drinking is associated with significant increases in short-term risks to health and safety, and the risk increases as the amount of drinking increases,” says the CDC.
Alcohol abuse can damage the cells of the liver, causing a disease called cirrhosis. Cirrhosis heightens the risk of liver cancer. Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common type of liver cancer. Often, this perilous disease does not manifest symptoms until reaching more advanced stages.
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Obstruction of blood flow to the brain triggers a stroke, causing brain cells to die. Various mechanisms compromise blood flow to the brain. For instance, stoke can occur because of blood supply interruption to the brain (ischemia), or due to bleeding in the brain (hemorrhage). The risk factors for stroke are similar to those for heart disease. They include smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and family history.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are types of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Both are common health consequences of smoking. Because of the toxins in tobacco, the lung tissue suffers from damaged and loses its ability to carry oxygen into the bloodstream. Signs of COPD include shortness of breath and wheezing.
One of the most vicious diseases that affect men is kidney failure. In the United States, an estimated 30 million people have chronic kidney disease and over 2 million people die each year because treatment for kidney failure is unavailable. The kidneys eliminate impurities from the blood, and then disposes of them through urination. These organs are also essential in maintaining electrolyte balance in the blood. Kidney failure is sometimes a consequence of high blood pressure and neglected diabetes.
The pancreas is liable for releasing insulin, which helps cells use glucose for energy. Diabetes characterizes the body’s inability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin.
Mismanaged or uncontrolled diabetes raises blood sugar levels in the bloodstream. In the long-term, diabetes can impact the small blood vessels in the body and trigger multi-organ failure. The complications of diabetes can also cause vascular disease, leading to:
- Heart attacks
- Kidney failure
- Limb amputations
- Nerve damage
If someone was to ask which disease might afflict men, the common cold might come to mind. However, it is the least of any man’s concerns. The ten diseases mentioned in this article may occur less often than a runny nose, but they should be on every man’s radar.