Mens Health (cont.)
Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- Introduction to men's health
- Prostate problems
- Top 10 diseases that kill men
- Heart disease
- Influenza and pneumonia
- Kidney disease
- Alzheimer's disease
- The checklist: How to stay healthy
Top 10 diseases that kill men
"Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster."
Sun Tzu. Chinese General. 500BC
Most of the common diseases that affect men are potentially preventable, but one needs to know their enemy. Interestingly, the presence of some diseases increases the likelihood that another will occur. Heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and dementia all share the same risk factors:
1. Heart disease
Heart disease is the number one killer of men in the United States.
The heart is like any other muscle, requiring blood to supply oxygen and nutrients for it to function. The heart's needs are provided by the coronary arteries, which begin at the base of the aorta and spread across the surface of the heart, branching out to all areas of the heart muscle.
The coronary arteries are at risk for narrowing as cholesterol deposits, called plaques, build up inside the artery. If the arteries narrow enough, blood supply to the heart muscle may be compromised (slowed down), and this slowing of blood flow to the heart causes pain, or angina.
Angina symptoms include:
- chest pressure with radiation down the arm and to the jaw,
- shortness of breath,
- a decreased ability to do routine activities.
This heart pain is often referred to as "anginal equivalent."
A heart attack (myocardial infarction) occurs when a plaque ruptures, allowing a blood clot to form, which can be life-threatening. The blood clot completely obstructs the artery, stopping blood flow to part of the heart muscle, and that portion of muscle dies.
Abnormal heart rhythms and sudden cardiac arrest
The heart is an electrical pump composed of heart muscle and cells that produce and conduct electrical signals. Heart muscle cells can become irritable because they have lost blood supply and may, in addition, cause electrical abnormalities or short circuits that prevent the heart muscle from pumping which can result in sudden cardiac death.
Heart disease risk factors
The major risk factors for heart disease (and stroke and peripheral vascular disease) include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and family history. While one cannot control their family history, the other factors can be controlled and the risks minimized. These are life-long obligations to decrease the risk of heart disease.
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