“I’ll be fine.” That may be the response you get from some men when they experience unusual health symptoms, but “rub some dirt on it” isn’t really a medical remedy you can rely on. There are several reasons why men don’t live as long as women on average (76 for men, 81 for women according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), but a common one is that men may be more likely than women to avoid doctors and ignore serious symptoms.
Men’s health symptom: Erectile dysfunction
Most men don’t want to talk or even think about erectile dysfunction (ED), but it could be a red flag for a much more serious disease (like this).”If you are 45 to 50 and your only health issue is that ‘it doesn’t work in the bedroom the way that it used to,’ that’s a huge red flag,” says Joseph Alukal, MD, a urologist at the NYU Langone Preston Robert Tisch Center for Men’s Health in New York City. ED may signal a lack of blood flow, which indicates trouble in other parts of the body too, such as the heart and the brain.”If you develop ED, it is as likely to predict a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years as a smoking or family history of heart disease.”
Men’s health symptom: Trouble swallowing
Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) is a symptom that men should never ignore, says David Poppers, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Tisch Center for Men’s Health in New York City. It is one of the signs of acid reflux (here are five more), and it can also be a harbinger of an allergic condition or possibly esophageal cancer and needs evaluation, he says.
Men’s health symptom: Weight gain
Unintentional weight loss is a red flag of an underlying health issue, but on the flip side, excessive weight gain can also signal problems. For some men, belly fat or that “beer gut” may be a marker for heart problems. Research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that the more abdominal weight a man carries, the greater his risk of heart disease. “What’s really interesting is that we show that an increase in the amount of stomach fat and a lower density fat is associated with worse heart disease risk factors—even after accounting for how much weight was gained,” says Caroline Fox, MD, MPH, former senior investigator for the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute and the study’s senior researcher, in a news release. Weight gain can also be a sign of depression or stress, Dr. Lamm adds. There are other signs that your weight gain means trouble. Your doctor can help you sort out what’s going on.
Men’s health symptom: Jaw pain
Chest pain and pressure may be typical for heart disease, but jaw and neck pain, arm numbness, feeling faint, and/or shortness of breath—especially if the symptoms occur during activity and resolve with rest—could also be a sign of heart disease or heart attack in men, says Dr. Applebaum. Make sure you know these common heart attack signs and symptoms so you’ll be able to recognize heart attack symptoms if they should occur.
This article by Denise Mann, MS of The Healthy continues at: