June is Men’s Health Month, which aims to raise awareness of health problems in men and encourage preventive action for better health. By making healthy lifestyle choices, getting regular checkups and having recommended screenings for early disease detection, many of the health challenges facing men can be reduced.
Common GI Issues for Men
Gastrointestinal (GI) issues affect men and women. However, some conditions are more prevalent in males. These GI disorders range from minor to life-threatening. Some of the gastrointestinal problems that are more common in men include:
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Peptic Ulcers
- Chronic Pancreatitis
- Colon Cancer
- Liver Cancer
Learning about the symptoms and risk factors for digestive conditions can help men recognize problems early and get appropriate treatment. You can learn more about these specific disorders and diseases affecting men in our Digestive Problems Common In Men article.
Screenings for Men
It is well-known that men are less likely to get regular checkups. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) backs this up, showing that women are more likely than men to have seen a health professional within the last 12 months across all age groups (except for those 65 years or older).
Regular checkups are key to early disease detection and maintaining overall good health. In addition to regular wellness checks (which should include blood pressure screening, skin exams and testicular exams), there are some screenings that men should have as they get older. Diseases like cancer and heart disease can often be detected early through screenings, which will provide the best treatment outcomes.
Men should have the following screenings:
- Cholesterol testing every five years from 20 years of age.
- Glucose tests to screen for diabetes every three years, starting at age 45.
- Colorectal cancer screenings routinely between the ages of 45 to 75 for those with average risk. Men at higher risk may need to be screened earlier.
- Prostate cancer screenings at age 50 for men at average risk (45 years of age or earlier for those with high risk).
How to Stay Healthy
Prevention is always best. Although we can’t control all risk factors, we can reduce many through lifestyle choices. It’s never too late to start making healthy decisions.
- Quit smoking, or don’t start smoking.
- Eat a balanced, whole-foods diet that focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, lean proteins and fish, and healthy fats.
- Minimize your consumption of highly processed foods, red meat, sugar, salt and saturated fats.
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
- Get regular physical activity, including resistance training. Try to build more movement and standing into your daily routine.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Manage stress levels.
- Prioritize sleep quality and amount of sleep.
- Be cautious with supplements.
- Avoid toxins, including personal hygiene products, cleaning products, insecticides and other chemicals.
- Self-check regularly for abnormal skin appearance and lumps.
The team at GastroIntestinal Specialists, A.M.C., treats multiple conditions and diseases of the GI tract. Our Board-Certified physicians have more than 150 years of combined experience in providing quality care that you can trust. To schedule an appointment, call (318) 631-9121 or click here.