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Health News

Men’s Health Is a Family Issue

“Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue.”
~ Congressman Bill Richardson (Congressional Board, H3905-H3906, May 24, 1994)

Ladies, I know what you’re thinking. We already handle more than our fair share of the family duties so why should we be responsible for our husband’s health, too? Because his health—good or bad—doesn’t just affect him; it can have a significant impact on our lives and that of our children as well—now and in the future.

“In playing the roles of spouse and caregiver, ladies can add years to the life of their spouse by learning about men’s health,” explains Kimberley R. Ham, MD, family medicine practitioner and member of the medical staff of Houston Healthcare. “If we can help them realize that even the smallest symptom may warrant a serious discussion with their doctor, then we’ll be helping them take on a more active role in their own health care.”

Just like women, men also face several health issues that are uniquely their own. Unlike women, however, men will usually ignore the warning symptoms, waiting until a minor symptom escalates to something more serious. That’s where we come in, ladies. Below are some of the major warning signs related to men’s health that we need to know about and be on the lookout for:

  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits. This can be a sign of prostate or bladder problems. Blood in the urine is a common indicator of kidney problems. Does he get up several times during the night to use the restroom? This could be a sign of an inflammation or an enlarged prostate, both of which are common problems for men as they age.
  • Impotence or erectile dysfunction. Typically, erectile problems are secondary symptoms of a much more serious health problem His “headache” may be an early warning sign of diabetes, heart disease or high cholesterol.
  • Unusual or persistent symptoms or any changes. Persistent backaches, changes in the color of urine or stool, obvious changes in warts or moles, unusual lumps, recurrent chest pains or headaches, bleeding that won’t stop, nagging cough, unexplained weight loss, and extreme fatigue can all be symptoms of other serious health problems and should be checked out by a physician immediately.
  • Depression. While women may be more likely to attempt suicide, men are four times more likely to succeed, making suicide the seventh leading cause of death in men. Because men think they are supposed to be “strong and silent,” he may try to hide his depression so you have to pay attention to his behavior. Is he acting overly anxious? Is he having trouble sleeping? Does he complain about feeling sad, empty or helpless? Has he been taking unusual risks or acting recklessly? Has he lost interest in hobbies or activities he once enjoyed, including sex?

“Talking about these issues can sometimes be difficult to discuss—especially for him. But he needs to understand how serious even the smallest symptom could be,” continues Dr. Ham. “If you do notice an unusual symptom, get him to see his physician. Even if he’s in great shape and is seemingly healthy, helping him get into the habit of having regular checkups is key to early detection and prevention. The ultimate goal is to get him to take better care of himself and, hopefully, set an example for the next generation of men to start practicing good health habits.”

Houston Medical Center
1601 Watson Boulevard
Warner Robins, Georgia 31093
Telephone: (478) 922-4281

 

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Perry Hospital
1120 Morningside Drive
Perry, Georgia 31069
Telephone: (478) 987-3600

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