There are many common diseases that are more prevalent in men compared to women. Common diseases among men include hypertension, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases especially coronary heart disease, chronic liver diseases, kidney-related diseases such as renal stones and enlarged prostate, cancer and mental health disorders such as depression.
Cardiovascular health is one of the most important topics when it comes to men’s health as it is the leading cause of death for men. Did you know, one out of two men will suffer a major heart attack or sudden death due to heart complications, and without prior symptoms?
The main driver of coronary artery diseases (CAD) are non-communicable conditions such as being overweight, obese, having diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, smoking and a family history of heart diseases.
Metabolic syndrome is fast becoming more important especially in the younger age group less than 40. This is a big problem currently as it increases risks of men getting non -communicable disease and complications such as heart attack and stroke. It includes abdominal obesity, high blood pressure with or without hypertension, high blood sugar due to either impaired fasting glucose or diabetes mellitus, high serum triglycerides, and low serum high-density lipoprotein.
To start, based on statistics, men are less likely than women to go for medical check-ups and screenings. Most will wait until they are ill and sick! This explains why forty per cent of men will have at least one undiagnosed chronic condition.
Health screenings include testing for disease and conditions that have not yet caused any symptoms. Early detection will provide prompt treatment to prevent the condition from progressing. The main objectives of health screenings are to screen for medical diseases, assess risks of future medical problems, encourage healthy lifestyles, update vaccinations where necessary and know who and where to get help in case of an illness.
Generally, it is recommended to have a health screening annually or once every two years. Health screenings should start from the age of 40 and done annually upon reaching 50 since this is when diseases start to show prevalence among men.
However, with changes in today’s lifestyle particularly a poor diet and lack of exercise, we are seeing younger patients developing diseases. Thus, men below the age of 40 with risk factors such as obesity, are recommended to perform health screenings regularly.
Health screenings will start with a thorough physical examination to check vital signs such as blood pressure and to screen for hypertension. Your pulse or heart rate will also be checked to detect any problems in your heart rhythm. A BMI calculation will determine if you are overweight or having an obesity problem. A thorough physical examination will be performed to detect any abnormal signs of specific organs. A general mental health assessment is usually included. This will be followed by certain important blood tests including full blood counts, fasting sugar and cholesterol, liver, and kidney function with a few additional blood tests where necessary. Basic radiological examination including chest X-rays and ultrasound abdomen are also routinely included. Additional tests that can be done is, for example, exercise stress test and echocardiogram to evaluate cardiovascular health.
Based on statistics, men generally have a higher rate of getting and dying from cancer compared to females. Most common types of cancer detected in men include prostate cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, bladder cancer and pancreatic cancer.
Screening for cancer has been one of the best ways to detect the disease early. Unfortunately, not all types of cancer screenings are recommended or specific. To add to that, each cancer has a different approach pertaining screenings. If the test turns out positive, the patient will be subjected to more detailed examination and investigation to confirm and stage the disease.
Prostate cancer screening includes a blood test called ‘prostate specific antigen’. Prostate examinations will be done in patients with symptoms.
Lung cancer can be detected early via a low dose CT scan of the lungs. Screening is also recommended for people with a chronic smoking history or a family history of lung cancer.
Colorectal cancer screening includes stool tests (to detect blood), colonoscopy and CT scan. This includes high risk patients, with inflammatory bowel disease or with a family history of colorectal cancer or a genetic predisposition such as familial adenomatous polyposis.
Apart from this, there are a few other cancer/tumour markers that you can take but not officially recommended as these acts only as a guideline as a cancer screening.
Columbia Asia hospitals offer an extensive range of health screening packages for different ages and needs. We strongly encourage everyone to perform a health check to better manage your health and for early detection.
Columbia Asia Hospital – Puchong
Bachelor Of Medicine & Bachelor Of Surgery (MBBS), Doctor of Internal Medicine (UKM), CIMA (NIOSH)