Warning signs most healthy men miss
Some illnesses are easy to recognize and diagnose. Runny noses, a cough, chest pain, all make the diagnosis of various diseases relatively easy. Unfortunately, not all illnesses are so easy to recognize. And when it comes to reporting vague symptoms, men are notoriously well-known for playing down what they’re feeling.
Here are some warning signs that seemingly healthy mean may be missing.
Yes, everyone snores sometimes, but certain types of snoring can be a sign of something more serious. Sleep apnea is a condition where a person stops breathing occasionally throughout the night while sleeping. Besides being concerning because of the lack of oxygen getting to your body, sleep apnea can raise your risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and weight gain.
Men who experience sleep issues or who have been told they snore loudly should see their doctor to rule out sleep apnea as a contributing factor. Your doctor may schedule a sleep study, which means you’ll sleep for one night at a sleep center while monitors measure your muscle activity, heart rate, respiration and blood oxygen levels.
If it’s determined you have sleep apnea, your doctor may prescribe a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device to help keep your airways open during the night.
When men begin experiencing frequent urination, they may dismiss it as just another side effect of getting older. However, it can also be a sign of an enlarged prostate, which is a treatable condition, and should be diagnosed by a doctor to rule out more serious problems like prostate cancer.
Besides frequent urination, the Journal of Urology lists signs of an enlarged prostate as having a weak stream of urine, stopping and starting frequently while urinating, difficulty holding your bladder and feeling as though your bladder isn’t empty when you’ve just finished urinating.
To treat an enlarged prostate, your doctor may prescribe medication or a minimally invasive surgery to remove part of the prostate gland.
Men should be aware of any changes in their testicles. Just as women should perform periodic self-breast exams, men can perform self-testicular exams to watch for changes over time.
Speak with your doctor if you notice any of the following changes:
- Enlarged veins
- Swelling or enlargement of the testicle
- Lumps or abnormal bumps
- Sudden pain
- Redness and tenderness
- Unusual differences between testicles
Should you have any concerns, a trip to your doctor can help you answer any questions. He or she will be able to tell you what the symptoms mean and whether further testing is necessary.
Similar to frequent urination, men who begin struggling with erectile dysfunction may assume it’s a natural consequence of aging. While erectile dysfunction or low sex drive can occur with increasing age, it shouldn’t happen suddenly or occur in conjunction with other worrying symptoms. When other symptoms accompany erectile dysfunction, the culprit may be male hypogonadism or low testosterone, not advancing age.
Low T or hypogonadism is most common in men over age 30. Normal testosterone levels hover between 350 ng/dL and 1000 ng/dL, according to primary care clinic viTal4men with locations in Chandler, Mesa and Peoria, and a man’s levels naturally decrease by about 1 percent per year after age 30.
In addition to erectile dysfunction, the Mayo Clinic lists infertility, decreased muscle mass, less facial and body hair, fatigue and new or worsening depression as possible symptoms of low testosterone.
When blood levels of testosterone drop below normal levels, a man can be diagnosed with low T by a primary care physician. All it takes is a simple blood test. Once Low T has been diagnosed, your doctor will explain your options for treatment. Testosterone replacement therapy can include oral medicine, implanted pellets, patches and/or gels.
Many health-warning signs don’t appear very serious at first glance but can be harmful to your overall health. High percentage of body fat, high blood pressure and problems with intimacy, as we discussed in a previous article, are all things to pay attention to when considering your long-term health goals.
At viTal4men, our focus is treating men that have been diagnosed with low testosterone. We are a Primary Care clinic so we can treat most general medical needs in office, including physicals and flu vaccinations.