There are so many health conditions that we often associate just with women. However, even men can be susceptible to them. In fact, for many men, it comes as a shock when they are diagnosed with a condition that the society believes is a ‘woman’s only’ condition.
- Breast Cancer
Since women have breasts, it is often assumed they are the only ones who can be diagnosed with breast cancer. Even though breast cancer is 100 times less common in men compared to women, men have a one in 1,000 chance of developing the cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
Men have similar risk factors for breast cancer as women. These include obesity, age, amount of alcohol being consumed, and family history. But men also have other risk factors that are unique to them. These are liver problems, being born with an extra X chromosome, disorders related to the testicles, and certain occupations that result in exposure to carcinogenic materials.
The American Cancer Society states in 2016, 440 men will succumb to breast cancer. Also, the survival rate of men with this type of cancer is worse than women since they experience larger and more aggressive tumors and more metastasis of the malignancy to the lymph nodes.
The S.L.E. Lupus Foundation clearly states that men and women can both get lupus. However, the ratio of men to women is 1 to 9. Furthermore, both genders experience similar symptoms, which include fatigue, skin rashes, memory problems, and joint pain.
Unfortunately, since lupus is more prevalent in women than men, doctors may not suspect that their male patients have this chronic, debilitating condition even if they complain about the symptoms. This can pose a problem when it comes to diagnosing lupus in men.
Yes, women are more likely to suffer from migraines, but this does not rule out men. In fact, men also experience the same symptoms – sensitivity to light, excruciating headaches, and vomiting.
This said, men are more likely to suffer from cluster headache compared to women, especially those men who smoke. More often than not, a cluster headache is mistaken for a migraine, which can be triggered by alcohol, lack of quality sleep, dehydration, and strenuous workouts.
- Bulimia and Anorexia
Since women are more conscious about their bodies, they tend to suffer from eating disorders more often than men. However, there are men out there who worry about the way they look and feel too, and this makes them susceptible to eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia. A concrete example is male bodybuilders, who often want to have large muscle size. If such bodybuilders obsess over their muscle size, they can fall prey to eating disorders.
Also, just like women, men can turn to emotional eating when they are feeling lonely or depressed. Experts reckon men suffering from eating disorders can benefit if they press the button for therapy.
Brittle and weak bones, which are synonymous with several menopausal women, can also afflict men. It is prudent to remember that many times, osteoporosis does not manifest symptoms. Just a bone mineral density test can reveal the extent of bone loss. Since osteoporosis is more common to women than men, doctors may not recommend a bone density test for men.
The US National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases states that while men do not have the quick bone loss that post-menopausal women experience, both men as well as women lose bone mass at the same rate by the time they are 70 years old. Also, in both genders absorption of calcium by the body reduces by the time they are about 65 to 70 years old. So both men and women, regardless of their age, should ensure the adequate intake of calcium and Vitamin D is conducted to prevent osteoporosis.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Human Papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted disease. It can affect both men and women. While women can get a pap smear to get checked for HPV, men don’t have that luxury. Hence, men with HPV often transmit the disease to their sexual partners unknowingly.
As men grow older, they are at a higher risk of developing HPV. This STD does not have any symptoms and a majority of times it clears up on its own without causing problems or complications. However, in some cases, it can result in genital warts, cancer of the penis, or cancer of the neck and head. If you are a sexually active man, it is best to speak to your doctor to find out whether you are an ideal candidate for an HPV vaccine.