September is Prostate Awareness Month! Prostate Cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America, affecting 1 in 7 men. It’s also 100% treatable if detected early, underscoring the need for men to get regular health check-ups.
Men are notorious for ignoring routine doctor visits, early symptoms of disease and their health risks. But ignorance is not always bliss. In fact, studies have shown that women are healthier and live longer because they take a proactive role in knowing about and managing their health.
The good news is that many of men’s biggest health risks can be reduced by better understanding family health history and making healthier lifestyle choices.
Here are the top 6 health concerns that men should watch out for.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and more common in men than women. First degree relatives (siblings, parents and children) of a person with heart disease have an estimated two to three times risk of developing the condition. This risk can be even greater if there are multiple affected family members or if heart disease was diagnosed at young ages (before age 65 for a woman or before age 55 for a man). Read More
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. An individual with a family history of type 2 diabetes is two to four times more likely to develop the disease. Brothers, sisters and children of an affected person have an estimated 8% to 14% risk, and some researchers believe that a child of an affected mother who was diagnosed before 50 can have an even greater risk. Read More
A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain stops or is greatly reduced. Family members of a person with a stroke, especially close relatives, can have a greater risk of developing the condition than someone without a family history. Read More
Late-onset Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that affects people over age 55. Family history is an important risk factor. Brothers and sisters of an affected person have an estimated 2% risk, while this risk jumps to 4% if there is also an affected parent. In general, the higher the number of affected relatives, the higher the risk. Read More
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of chronic lung conditions including bronchitis and emphysema. While cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for COPD, genetic factors may also play an important role in the development of the disease. Read More
After lung cancer, which is primarily caused by smoking, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer are the leading cancers in men. Both of these cancers can be caused by inherited cancer predispositions in some families. The additional presence of breast, ovarian, pancreatic and/or uterine cancer may increase the chance of there being an inherited cancer predisposition in the family.
What you can do:
Men: Your family health history is vital to managing your health. Use online resources like Inherited Health to:
- Collecting your family health history
- Learn about your hereditary disease risks
- Share this information with your doctor who can help you create an action plan for better health.
Women: Start potentially life-saving conversations with your husband, father, uncles, brothers and sons about family health history and invite them to help you build a family health history network at Inherited Health.
(Blog post courtesy of Jordanna Joaquina, MS, CGC, Director of Genetics and Co-Founder of Inherited Health.)
Got a health question? Ask a HealthTap doctor today!