Many people know that there are certain illnesses and diseases that affect women more often than men, such as depression and osteoporosis. However, there are also illnesses and diseases that affect men more than women. For example, boys are more likely to be diagnosed with Autism than girls.
As we age, both genders are subjected to more age-related illnesses. Here are some age- related illnesses and diseases that affect men more than women, and how they can be prevented or how they can be managed.
Arthritis is another age-related disease that affects a lot of people over the age of 65, with osteoarthritis being more prominent in women. With men, a more complex form of arthritis called gout is more common. This occurs when uric acid builds up in the joints, causing painful and swollen joints.
Gout can be caused by any of the following:
- Age (peaks around 75)
- Diet (alcohol, salty foods, and shellfish)
Gout can be treated (and possibly avoided) by drinking plenty of water, eating a low-sodium and low-fat diet (while focusing on an anti-inflammatory diet), and by exercising regularly.
Heart disease is very common among both men and women as they age, but men are at a slightly higher risk. This may be because men tend to hold extra weight around their midsection (which contributes to many other age-related diseases), whereas women are more likely to hold extra weight in their hips and thighs. Heart disease can lead to heart attacks, heart failure, and other problems later in life.
The key to avoiding heart disease is to keep your heart healthy. This includes abstaining from bad habits (such as smoking), exercising regularly, and eating a heart healthy diet. Following these tips can help keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels down— both of which can contribute to heart problems.
Kidney Disease/Kidney Stones
Kidney stones, a form of kidney disease, is solid material that forms in the urine. It’s not exactly clear why a man suffer from kidney stones (or kidney disease) more than a woman, but the factors that may increase his risk include:
- Being obese
- Family history of kidney stones
- Frequent urinary tract infections
- Having diabetes
- High-protein diet
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Men are at a higher risk of developing lung cancer than women are— even if they’re nonsmokers. The reason is likely because men are more likely to work in occupations that expose them to harmful air pollutants, such as asbestos, formaldehyde, and radon, whereas women are not found in these occupations as frequently. Men are also likely to
The number one way to prevent lung cancer is to avoid smoking and second-hand smoke. It’s also important to avoid environmental pollutants and wear the required protective equipment if you work in an occupation that exposes you to harmful substances. It also helps if you pay attention to the indoor air quality (IAQ) in your home.
This includes doing things like:
- Changing AC filters at least every month
- Keep carpets and rugs clean, or switch to harder flooring
- Place indoor plants around the home to cleanse the air
- Use kitchen vents/open windows when cooking
Parkinson’s Disease is a type of dementia, affecting the central nervous system. Dementia is actually very common the older we get, as Alzheimer’s Disease (another type of dementia) affects more women than men. This isn’t known why, but it’s suspected that Parkinson’s Disease affects men more because they don’t have enough estrogen to protect their neurological functions.
This disease has no cure and worsens over time. In fact, some men may have to move into assisted living, where they’re at an increased risk of common assisted living injuries such as choking and bed sores. However, medications such as those that increase dopamine production, can help men manage this disease.
Of course there are other sex-specific diseases that only affect men, such as prostate cancer (which can also be considered an age-related disease), but it’s also important that you understand the nonsex-specific diseases and illnesses that can affect men— especially as you age.
The key to avoiding these age-related diseases (and several illnesses in general) is by living a healthy lifestyle. Drink plenty of water and eat a diet rich in a variety of nutrients, limiting alcohol, processed foods, saturated fats, and sugary foods. Aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week, and try to quit bad habits, such as smoking.