The decade between reaching 40 and hitting the big five-O puts a man at significantly higher risk of deadly diseases. Here are the seven biggest health challenges a man in his fifties may face.
Coronary Heart Diseases
The risk of coronary heart disease increases by 40% in aging men. As the male body ages, blood vessels begin to harden and shrink. Plaque has also been collecting on the walls of blood vessels and restricts the flow of blood back to the heart.
Men over 50 should begin visiting their GP annually to have their heart health checked. It’s also a good idea to have the blood pressure monitored as well. Your doctor will calculate your level of risk for cardiovascular disease using several risk factors, which include smoking habits, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
Osteoporosis has a 50% greater chance of affecting men in their 50’s. Deteriorating bone mass leads to weak bones, which can more easily break. Adequate amounts of calcium are needed to rebuild the bone mass and reverse osteoporosis. In men over 50, the recommended calcium intake is 1200mg daily.
A good source of calcium is dairy foods, but some vegetables are also high in calcium such as kelp, spinach, broccoli, collard greens, and kale. A high-quality supplement can make up for dietary shortfalls.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
COPD is a constriction of the airways causing shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing. It starts as an innocent but persistent cough. Eventually, the cough may lead to life-threatening diseases such as lung cancer, emphysema, and other dangerous respiratory illnesses.
The American Lung Cancer Association records higher numbers of men diagnosed with lung cancer every year, despite efforts to stop people from smoking. Men who have been smoking for more than 30-years are at the highest risk of lung cancer, and a CT scan may be a wise course of action, as would giving up smoking.
Men are statistically more likely to succumb to an alcohol-related death than women. Regular alcohol consumption increases the risk of throat, oesophagus, colon, and liver cancer.
Twice as many men die from melanoma as women, and sixty per cent of melanoma-related deaths are white males over the age of 50.
Excessive and binge drinking may also lead to impotence and infertility. Men are more likely than women to commit suicide and are more likely to have been drinking beforehand.
Protect your skin against sun damage by wearing long-sleeve shirts, wide-brim hats, and sunscreen.
Ninety per cent of colon cancer cases occur in men over 50. Early detection and treatment are the best defences, which is why men over 50 should be tested with a faecal occult blood test (FOBT) annually and undergo a sigmoidoscopy every five years to ensure colon cancer is detected early.
Men in the 50 plus age bracket are 48% more at risk of erectile dysfunction (ability to achieve an orgasm or erection). Most often, it is caused by the slowing of blood flow in the body. However, there are now medications available to reverse this age-associated condition.
Learn more about strategies on how to improve your health – 3 Proven Health Strategies For Men Over 50.