Some men's health conditions are perpetually concerning, but do senior males need to worry more about prostate cancer, heart disease, and diabetes the older they get? This article explores some of the biggest health issues senior males face and how proper preventive care and guidance from your doctor can help manage or even prevent disease.
We all know we can't prevent growing older. But we can sometimes prevent the health concerns that often grow with aging. With proper education about men's health issues, and by taking preventive measures to mitigate the types of chronic conditions that get more likely as men age, you can do a lot to avoid some of the biggest health concerns facing male seniors today.
Let's take a look at some of the most common health issues senior men face.
Worries about a diagnosis of prostate cancer are usually a top concern for older men, especially since prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in American men other than skin cancer.
Risk for prostate cancer increases with age. Reports have shown men younger than age 39 only have a 0.005% chance of developing prostate cancer. The probability of developing prostate cancer increases to 2.2% in men between 40 and 59 years, and 13.7% in men between 60 and 79 years.
But the good news is prostate cancer is usually very treatable, not all prostate cancers require treatment, and it's not as fatal as some people fear. According to the American Cancer Society, the probability of dying from prostate cancer is only 2.4%, based on statistics from 2012-2015.
As One Medical’s Malcolm Thaler, MD, has reported, “Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, but only a tiny fraction of these cancers will be aggressive and clinically significant. The vast majority of prostate cancers will never impact clinical well-being or life expectancy.” This is also why it's crucial for men to understand their individual risk and their options, says Dr. Thaler.
To discover strategies that can help you prevent prostate cancer, check out this article from AARP.
Type 2 diabetes is common among both sexes and a wide range of ages, but our risk for it increases as we get older. According to the American Diabetes Association, about 1 in 4 adults over the age of 60 have type 2 diabetes.
Controlling diabetes can also get more difficult as we age, and the complications that can be associated with uncontrolled diabetes can be harder to overcome. Learning how to keep your blood sugar levels under control as early as possible will do much to help you continue good habits as you age, but you may also have to adjust how you manage the condition as you get older and as new or worsening health conditions arise.
It's also important to recognize that the disease brings substantial risk for both acute and chronic microvascular and cardiovascular complications, so be sure to talk to your doctor about your risk for heart disease and the steps you can take to lower your risk.
You can find a wealth of information about living with diabetes and treating diabetes on the American Diabetes Association's website.
At the top of the list for all health concerns in older men, it seems heart disease is usually asked about the most.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in seniors and, according to the CDC, includes several more specific heart conditions: coronary artery disease (the most common), angina, heart failure, and arrhythmias.
To help prevent heart disease:
- Choose healthy meal options, and be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Follow your doctor's instructions about lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure, and adhere to your medications for treating high cholesterol or high blood pressure when prescribed
- Exercise regularly (follow a modified plan for exercise from your doctor if needed)
- Do not smoke or, if you do smoke, quit (visit smokefree.gov for help)
- Limit alcohol use
To learn more about heart disease, visit the American Heart Association's website.