Men's Health Month: Routine checks up and screenings men over 40 must consider

24 June,2024 01:41 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Ainie Rizvi

Doctors reveal that a significant percentage of men above 40 are prone to cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, high cholesterol and strokes. In light of Men’s Health Month, medical experts share tips on preventing common health ailments for men in their 40s

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Men in their 40s are becoming more prone to developing health issues, inform medical experts. Attributing the cause to a combination of lifestyle factors, along with genetic history and the natural aging process, Dr Danny Laliwala, consultant, of obstetrics & gynaecology at Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre, informs, "After 40, men are more vulnerable to cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, high cholesterol and strokes."

Additionally, men in this age group are more susceptible to mental health challenges, such as depression and anxiety, partly due to midlife stressors like career pressures, financial responsibilities and family dynamics.

Moreover, hormonal changes, particularly a decrease in testosterone levels, can enhance these health risks. In a recent case, Manav Doshi, a city-based realtor (43) complained of troubling health symptoms. What started as a mild wheezing cough quickly turned into persistent chest pain that intensified at night.

Concerned for his health, Manav sought medical advice, uncovering a stark reality: that he is not alone as an increasing number of men post-40 are developing symptoms like chest pain, frequent headaches, sweating and breathlessness.

Statistics reveal that a significant percentage of men in this age group face similar health challenges. In light of Men's Health Week, consulted city-based doctors to gather expert advice on maintaining health and preventing ailments for men in their 40s. Here are five practical tips they recommend to keep these health issues in check:

Monitoring heart health
To maintain optimal health, cut down on your salt intake and engage in regular exercise. Additionally, scheduling annual health check-ups is crucial for early detection of underlying or potential medical conditions.

For men in their 40s, Laliwala recommends specific tests such as an ECG (electrocardiogram), a 2D echocardiography and a stress test. These assessments provide a comprehensive evaluation of heart health, helping to identify any abnormalities that may require further intervention.

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Keeping diabetes in check
Diabetes is another deadly disease that may pick up pace after 40 years. It results in a rapid increase or decrease in weight, increased appetite, increased thirst, and an increase in frequency of urination. If there is a family history of diabetes, one needs to be more vigilant. Diabetes is a silent disease that may progress and involve many organs of the body like the liver, kidneys and eyes.

To maintain control, routinely monitor fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels, along with HbA1c. Again, cut down on carbohydrates with regular exercise. Sweets should be eaten in moderation. Also, keep in mind that all aerated drinks contain a lot of sugar.

Controlling liver problems
"This has been on the increase because of excessive alcohol consumption and smoking. Also, non-alcoholic liver diseases are on the rise, mainly because of excessive fatty food consumption," shares Laliwala.

For those with liver issues, he suggests, "ultrasonography of the abdomen should be done along with fibro-elastic scan to diagnose fatty liver, fat content in the liver along with the amount of fibrosis in the liver. Blood tests including bilirubin, SGOT, SGPT, alkaline phosphatase and GGT should be done periodically.
Do curtail carbohydrates, salt and fatty foods."

Erectile disorders
Many men experience erectile dysfunction after the age of 40, report doctors. It often stems from a variety of factors including stress, hypertension, diabetes and obesity. Making certain lifestyle adjustments such as reducing alcohol consumption and quitting smoking, practicing meditation, and taking prescribed medications can often improve these conditions.

Ensuring an uninterrupted eight hours of sleep each night is also important. If the issue persists, consulting a urologist is advisable for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Maintaining kidney health
Kidney problems may develop after the age of 40, often due to the accumulation of mineral deposits in the urinary tract, which can lead to kidney stones. These stones can cause severe abdominal pain that typically radiates from the loin to the groin.

To prevent this condition, it is important to drink plenty of fluids regularly. In some cases, medication may be prescribed to treat kidney stones, while in others, a surgical procedure might be necessary to remove them.

Pro tip: Losing 10 percent of your body weight, slowly, gradually and persistently, for six months will take care of your health - Lalwani

Common health concerns for men in their 40s
Dr Ashish Mishra, consultant interventional cardiologist at Wockhardt Hospital, lists out common health problems that affect men in their 40s:
"Sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular diseases, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), hepatitis, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, stroke, obesity, cancer, back pain, erectile dysfunction, male infertility, prostate enlargement and diabetes."

Men's health impacts not only themselves but also their families. The question is, how can we develop strategies to prevent health ailments in men?

Start with basics: Maintain a healthy metabolism
A healthy metabolism demands physical activities or exercises. Mishra suggests a minimum of 30 minutes of activity that could include running, jogging, swimming, cycling, gym workouts, gardening or helping your spouse with household chores.

Making healthy food choices can effectively help manage your weight and boost your metabolism rate. Make sure to eat a well-balanced diet that contains adequate amounts of vitamins, fibers, minerals, carbohydrates and omega-3 fatty acids. Try to stay away from street food that is loaded with unhealthy fats and calories.

Routine screenings and check-ups

Men are advised to get screened for the following tests:
Blood sugar levels
Cardiac screening
Renal and liver function test
Cholesterol level checks
Vision and hearing tests
Bone density tests
Colon cancer screening
Blood pressure screening

The right nutrition is key
It is a known fact that one's metabolism becomes sluggish with age. Thus, men in their 40s should ensure they eat well for overall well-being.

Consider taking the help of a dietitian to ensure you are consuming complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables, antioxidant-rich foods such as berries, spinach, and nuts to boost immunity and keep various diseases, allergies, and conditions at bay.

Don't forget to add omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, flaxseeds and walnuts for enhancing heart health and cognitive function.

See to it that you don't eat processed, junk, oily, called and high-calorie foods. Practice portion control that can prevent you from overeating. Drink enough water to ease digestion and flush out toxins from the body.

Do a mix of cardiovascular, flexibility exercises and strength training
These should be strictly done under the guidance of an expert. Choose cardio workouts such as brisk walking, cycling or swimming that keep the heart healthy and improve your metabolism. Strength training is a good addition to the fitness routine as it can help to maintain muscle mass and bone density.

It will be possible for men to prevent age-related muscle loss and osteoporosis by doing weight training regularly. Moreover, opting for flexibility exercises such as yoga or Pilates allows for enhanced joint mobility and keeps injuries at bay. Yoga will also help with increased stamina, agility and endurance.

Climbing stairs, brisk walking and jogging can also be beneficial for men over 40. However, one can end up feeling lethargic due to following the same exercise routine. So, it is a good idea to keep experimenting with new types of workouts such as functional training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts for fat loss and strengthen and toning your muscles.

Before opting for these exercises consult the doctor and do it under the guidance of a fitness trainer who will ensure you are fit enough to do these exercises. Try to exercise at least five days a week for 45 minutes and you will be able to stay in top shape.

Disclaimer: This information does not replace professional medical advice. Consult a qualified specialist or your physician for personalised guidance.

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