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4 Health Conditions That Disproportionately Affect Men – And What You Can Do To Reduce Your Risk

man sits with dr

Did you know that when it comes to health, gender can play a big role? This week is Men’s Health Week, an international event with the aim of raising awareness about health conditions that affect men more than women. Men’s Health Week is promoted all over the world, and always falls on the week that ends with Father’s Day.

The goal of Men’s Health Week is to educate men on the health risks they face and to encourage them to become more aware about the steps they can take to prevent them.

Here are 4 health conditions that men should be aware of, with advice on ways you can lower your risk of developing them.

Heart Disease

What is it?

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, is one of the leading causes of death in the UK and the USA. In the UK alone, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease and the number of cases in men outweighs those in women by 400,000 each year.

Why are men more susceptible?

Studies show that men are more at risk of storing visceral fat, which is a type of fat that surrounds your internal organs.

While women generally store fat around their hips, men store it around their middle – which means a higher risk of developing heart disease. 

How to prevent it

You can reduce your risk of heart disease by reducing alcohol consumption, increasing your daily exercise, and eating a healthy diet. Some great exercises for keeping a healthy heart include jogging, swimming, and cycling.

Any form of exercise which is cardiovascular will help to keep your heart healthy throughout your life. To get the right balance of exercise and nutrition for optimum health, invest in a coach, like the ones at P3RFORM, who can create a bespoke programme specific to your needs.

Parkinson’s Disease

What is it?

Parkinson’s disease is a condition that affects the brain and causes problems like shaking and stiffness that get worse over time. Parkinson’s is the fastest-growing neurological condition in the world, and currently, there is no cure.

1 in 37 people alive today in the UK will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s in their lifetime and estimates show that around 145,000 people were living with a Parkinson’s diagnosis in the UK in 2020.

Why are men more susceptible?

Studies into Parkinson’s Disease have found that the hormone oestrogen has a protective effect on neurological functions and can reduce the harm done by free radicals in the body.

Women naturally have higher oestrogen levels, which researchers believe helps protect them from developing Parkinson’s Disease.

Some studies have also suggested a link between Parkinson’s Disease and the male X chromosome, leaving them at higher risk.

How to prevent it

Unfortunately, Parkinson’s is still relatively unknown and no one knows the true cause. This means there are no official ways to reduce your risk of developing it.

However, antioxidants like those found in green tea can help to neutralise free radicals in the body which could help to reduce your risk.

There are ways you can keep your brain healthy, such as meditation and making sure you get plenty of sleep. Doing puzzles like crosswords or sudoku can also help to keep your brain healthy into old age.

Kidney Stones

What is it?

Kidney stones are a very painful mass that can form due to high levels of calcium and uric acid in the body. Symptoms include blood in urine, nausea, abdominal pain, and even vomiting.

Kidney stones are fairly common but thankfully not too serious and with a known cure. There are several different methods for treating kidney stones and most are non-invasive or minimally invasive. 

Why are men more susceptible?

Diet plays a big role in your likelihood of developing kidney stones. A high intake of protein and salt can increase your risk of developing them, and men generally have a higher intake of both. 

How to prevent it

One of the best ways to ward off kidney stones is by making sure you are well-hydrated. It’s also advisable to cut down your intake of red meat and sodium, as well as beer and other alcoholic beverages. 

Prostate Cancer

What is it?

The prostate is a gland that naturally grows in size as men get older. As with other forms of cancer, prostate cancer occurs when cells begin to grow in an uncontrolled way and can spread to other parts of the body.

One of the main reasons why it’s so important to know if you’re at risk of prostate cancer is that early forms show no symptoms. 

Why are men more susceptible?

The prostate is a gland that only men (and trans women and non-binary people who were assigned male at birth) have. That is to say, women and people who are assigned as female at birth cannot get prostate cancer. In the UK, 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime and it mostly affects men over the age of 50.

How to prevent it

Your risk of developing prostate cancer increases as you get older. As with Parkinson’s Disease, there is no foolproof method for preventing it, however medical professionals suggest ways to reduce your risk.

These methods include living a healthy lifestyle, increasing your intake of and exposure to Vitamin D, and even adopting an anti-inflammatory diet such as reducing your intake of sugar and red meat. 

Content was written and produced by Alex Parren – Nutritional Advisor for Superzeros with qualifications as a PT and running coach.