Contributed by: Priyaish Srivastava
Some research studies suggest that men put their health last because most of them think that if they are living up to their parts in society, that is being productive at work and able to take care of their loved ones, that’s all they need, thus pushing the consideration for their health to the backseat.
Men prefer to see healthcare providers less than women and when they do, generally, there is a high chance that they get diagnosed with chronic illness. This happens because most men tend to indulge in poor lifestyle practices such as alcohol consumption, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle starting in their 20s.
The manifestation of adverse effects of these choices is delayed, in other words, the health complications do not arise immediately, but as they get older, the ill effects start to occur, giving rise to serious health complications. These include diseases related to the stomach, heart, liver, kidney, brain, and even diabetes. The complications can be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle, quitting bad habits such as smoking, & drinking alcohol, and seeking regular medical attention.
This article emphasises the five chronic complications that can arise in men who neglect their health and what measures can help them manage these conditions better.
Heart conditions are one of the most serious illnesses that can lead from severe to fatal repercussions if left undetected and/or untreated. According to some studies, on average, India witnesses over one crore deaths annually, of which cardiovascular diseases account for 20.3% male fatalities and16.9% female fatalities. The most prominent cause of cardiovascular ailments in India is the habit of smoking, alcohol consumption, and prolonged intake of junk foods.
Implementing healthy lifestyle changes is one of the best ways to promote heart health. Some tips to reduce the risk of disease include:
- Quit smoking
- Quit drinking
- Avoid junk foods
- Consume healthy foods
- Exercise regularly
- Regular health checkups
The liver is one of the most important organs and performs several essential functions for your overall, such as digesting foods, absorbing nutrients, and detoxification. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), liver cirrhosis afflicts nearly 10 lakh Indians every year and liver disease is the tenth most common cause of death in India. In general, the fatality rate due to chronic liver ailments in men is two-fold higher than that of women.
Some liver diseases that primarily affect men include liver cirrhosis, viral hepatitis, autoimmune or genetic liver diseases, bile duct cancer, liver cancer, and alcoholic liver disease.
Here are some on how to keep a healthy liver and reduce the chances of liver diseases.
- Quit smoking
- Quit alcohol
- Eat more green vegetables and fruits
- Avoid eating oily foods
- Periodic liver function test
Diabetes is a chronic ailment that develops due to several reasons including obesity, being overweight, family history, high blood pressure, and a sedentary lifestyle. Studies prove that men are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes and approximately 72 million Indians (both men and women) are living with this condition. The ailment develops when insulin (a hormone made by the pancreas) does not function properly which increases blood sugar levels.
Men suffering from diabetes have a high risk of lower testosterone levels and sexual impotence, which can increase the risk of associated psychological disorders. such as depression and anxiety.
Taking the following steps and help you manage diabetes better and reduce the risk of further complications.
- Lose extra weight
- Follow a healthy diet
- Workout regularly
- Avoid alcohol consumption and smoking
- Opt for frequent blood sugar checks
Men and mental health
Mental health is a serious issue albeit and often less discussed an issue that affects millions of people in India, especially men. The cases of conditions such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and other disorders are increasing day by day to which ‘man-up’ is not the answer and can easily prove to be extremely counterproductive. In a 2019 study, it was found that for every 100 suicide deaths in India, men accounted for a staggering 70.2, which is an alarming trend, and one that is on the rise.
Many men struggle a lot with accepting the fact that they need to see an expert for managing the condition, which eventually deteriorates their mental health. The best way to manage mental issues is by first accepting that there is a concern and not living in denial about it, and then taking steps to control, and manage the condition.
These tips can help you manage mental health complications effectively:
- Get plenty of sound sleep (approximately seven to eight hours)
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet and exercise regularly
- Avoid alcohol, smoking, absolutely SAY NO TO DRUGS!
- Practice stress management techniques
- Talk to family, friends, or join a therapy group
- Engage in activities that make you feel happy and relaxed
- Pick up a constructive hobby
- Consult a psychiatrist if the condition worsens
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) mostly occurs when a person is already suffering from any underlying complications like diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular ailments, or obesity. Men who have a family history of kidney complications are also at a high risk of developing the condition.
In India, kidney failure deaths were estimated at 1,36,000 in 2015 which increased to around 1,75,000 in 2018. Some research studies prove that men are at a higher risk of kidney failure than women. However, managing the condition can help lead a healthy life.
The risk of kidney ailments can be controlled by following these tips:
- Control blood pressure and blood glucose levels
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat healthy and nutrient-rich foods
- Increased water and fluid intake
- Get checked if you have any doubt about the functioning of your kidneys
- Avoid alcohol at all costs
Now that you are aware of the five common health threats to men, the next step is to bring lifestyle changes to avoid or manage these threats and live a longer and healthier life. Consulting a healthcare professional or getting diagnosed can be a little scary initially, however, once your health is back on track, it can help you feel more lively. Regular health checkups can help in identifying the cause of the complication enabling you to take preventive measures that can help in reducing the risk factors of cardiovascular illnesses such as stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure.
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