Here Are 7 Things Men Must Know About Their Health

(New York Waterfront, USA, (photo: Edwin Jiminez/Getty Images)

Exercise can dramatically lower cholesterol (Photo: Edwin Jiminez/Getty Images)

June is Men’s Health Month. Across the country many organizations are celebrating and spreading awareness with screenings, health fairs and other education related to men’s health and wellness. Here are 7 things men need to know.

1. More younger men are being diagnosed with Prostate Cancer

The number of younger men diagnosed with prostate cancer has increased nearly six-fold in the last twenty years. Today, over 10 percent of new prostate cancer diagnoses in the U.S. occur in men younger than 55 years old. What’s more alarming is that for younger men, the disease is often much more aggressive. Prostate cancer typically affects men in their 60s, 70s and older, and is often slow-growing. For this reason, older men are likely to die of causes other than prostate cancer, even if they ave the disease. But when younger men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, it is likely because they have developed a tumor that is growing quickly and aggressively.

Because of the current PSA guidelines established by governmental agencies like the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), many doctors or urologists do not recommend PSA tests until a man is in his 50s. In fact, the USPSTF recommends against PSA screening completely, claiming there is not enough evidence to support the benefits of the test. Other agencies or organizations recommend that men begin testing their PSA at age 50 or 55. However, this is simply not good enough.

What men should know:

A.     Get a baseline PSA test starting at age 40. Men should have a baseline PSA test starting at age 40. There is no harm in knowing your numbers. PSA results should be discussed with an experienced specialist who can guide you in the right direction about how to follow up and what to be aware of. 

B.    Know your family’s medical history for prostate cancer. Knowing your family’s medical history is just as important. Men who have a brother or father with a history of prostate cancer are twice as likely to be diagnosed with the disease. For younger men, the risk is even higher if they have multiple relatives with a history of prostate cancer. This should also be discussed with the same experienced specialist who checks your PSA level.

C.    African-American men have the highest risk for prostate cancer and 60 percent are more likely to develop prostate cancer and are 2.5 times more likely to die from it. African-American men are also diagnosed at a younger age (about 3 years younger) and are more likely to have high-grade or aggressive tumors.

2. Men who exercise may lower age-related cholesterol.

High cholesterol puts men at a greater risk for heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease. Genetics also play a role in the development of high cholesterol. But lifestyle choices such as unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, smoking, excessive alcohol intake are all proponents for high cholesterol.

The good news is a new study shows that men who exercise regularly may delay age-related high cholesterol. It seemed aerobic exercise in particular was the factor in delaying onset high cholesterol, according to a new study by researchers at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. The researchers created a model based on the data of men between the ages of 20-90 and found that the total cholesterol levels, which combine LDL (the bad cholesterol), triglycerides and non-HDL (the good cholesterol) gradually increased until about the age of 45-55 and then declined. To take it even further, men with low levels of cardio exercise developed high cholesterol in their 30s. Researchers concluded that a higher level of fitness is important to delay the increase in cholesterol associated with age. The findings continue to support previous studies showing the benefits of exercise.

3. Yes, Male Menopause is real.

Women are not the the only ones who suffer the effects of changing hormones. Many men experience some of the same symptoms including low sex drive, hot flashes, depression, irritability, mood swings, increased body fat, and decreased energy. Male menopause, also known as andropause, is a result of a gradual decrease in testosterone. While female menopause occurs when the production of hormones drop suddenly, Andropause is a gradual decline in hormone levels. 

If a man is experiencing any of these symptoms, here’s what he should do:

1. Check your levels early in the morning.

When you reach the age of 50, check your testosterone levels before 9 am. The range can be anywhere from 300-1000 but more is not better. I think optimal levels of testosterone should be between 400-600. If the first test is low, be sure to repeat it. We should never treat or diagnose Low T based on one test.

2. Pay attention to what you eat.

If you lose weight, especially that belly fat, you will see your testosterone levels increase dramatically. Your waist should be your height in inches divided by 2. For men, it should be less than 40 inches.

3. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a big secret to healthy testosterone levels. Foods like shellfish, tuna, salmon, egg yolks, beans and others work great. Also consider taking vitamin D supplements, 1,000-2,000 IU per day (that’s what I personally do,) and monitor your levels after that with your doctor. Vitamin D levels should be between 30-60.

4. Consult with an urologist.

How do we diagnose this? We look at each man individually. We evaluate their history, changes in sexual function, low libido, infertility issues, changes in sleep pattern, muscle strength, bone density and weight gain and work on the best treatment path from there. 

Coffee (Photo: Sean Gallagher/Getty Images)

Two cups of coffee a day may reduce ED (Photo: Sean Gallagher/Getty Images)

4. Coffee may help erectile dysfunction.

Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, occurs when men are unable to keep their erection firm enough to engage in sexual intercourse with their partner. Men often experience erectile dysfunction as they get older because with age, a man’s level of testosterone decreases. This causes changes in sexual function such as impotence or lower libido. The majority of erectile dysfunction cases are caused by a combination of psychological and medical conditions. About 70 percent of ED cases are caused my medical conditions and about 30 percent of ED cases are caused by psychological conditions. 

A new study suggests that drinking a few cups of coffee each day could lower a man’s risk for erectile dysfunction. Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston found that men who drank at least two cups of coffee each day had a 42 percent reduction in erectile dysfunction problems. About 18.4 percent of American men who are 20 years old and older suffer from erectile dysfunction. 

While middle-aged men generally suffer from erectile dysfunction, it can affect younger men too. It is common for men to occasionally experience erectile dysfunction, especially when under a lot of stress, overconsumption of alcohol, or with fatigue. However, if men suffer from erectile dysfunction often or on a regular basis, it can be a sign of other underlying health conditions that are in need of treatment. It may also be an indicator for mental or emotional issues.

5. Men’s Health Screening Guide by Age

For men in their 30s
Complete physical every 2 years
Get blood pressure checked every year
Cancer screenings for thyroid, testicles, lymph nodes, mouth and skin every three years
Cholesterol test for total LDL, HDL (the good kind) every three years
Testicular self-exam every month

For men in their 40s
Get blood pressure checked every year
Cancer screenings for thyroid, testicles, lymph nodes, mouth and skin every three years
Cholesterol test for total LDL, HDL (the good kind) every three years
Testicular self-exam every month
Complete physical every 2 years
Baseline prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and digital rectal exam (DRE)
Stool test (for colon and rectal cancers) every year

For men in their 50s 
Get blood pressure checked every year
Cancer screenings for thyroid, testicles, lymph nodes, mouth and skin every three years
Cholesterol test for total LDL, HDL (the good kind) every three years
Testicular self-exam every month
A sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy (for colon cancers) every three to four years or as recommended by your healthcare provider
PSA and DRE exam every year

6. Men live an average of 5 years less than women.

Yes, women outlive men in most cases. More men suffer and die from chronic illnesses than women. They’re 1.3 times more likely to have cancer than women and 2 times more likely to die from liver disease. The evidence is clear and the risk is high; men need to be more attentive to their health. Study findings from Norway showed a correlation between 30 minutes of physical activity per day with longevity for men in their 60s and 70s. Researchers also deemed this level of activity per day brought on health benefits equivalent to quitting smoking.

7. Call to Women: Take the Samadi Challenge for Men’s Health

Women are the perfect advocates for men’s health. Statistics show that women make over 70% of the medical decisions in a household. They’re proactive and anticipate health issues while practicing prevention. Research also indicates that they ask a lot of questions of their doctor and want to make an informed decision regarding their health. When it comes to many issues that affect men like erectile dysfunction and prostate cancer, women can be the champions and voice for opening up the conversation about symptoms, early diagnosis, treatment and even prevention. 

The Samadi Challenge for Men’s Health asks women to: 

Learn the risk factors of common diseases in men

Improve the lifestyles of the men in their lives

Encourage men to get screened annually

Seek treatment in cases of a positive diagnosis

DR. DAVID SAMADI EXAMINES HOW GOOGLE HELPS YOUR HEALTH

Dr. Samadi is the chairman of urology and chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel and the chief medical correspondent for AM970 in New York City.

Here Are 7 Things Men Must Know About Their Health