When it comes to men’s health, many concerns can be addressed with preventive healthcare, including routine screenings and annual wellness checks. Build a healthier future by understanding your risk for the most common men’s health concerns, as well as when to seek testing.
The numbers don’t lie: heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States. Knowing your risk for heart disease is the beginning of heart health preventive care. Several medical conditions and lifestyle factors contribute to a higher risk for heart disease. These include:
- Obesity and being overweight
- Unhealthy diet (a diet high in salt, saturated fats, trans fat and cholesterol)
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive alcohol use
Sometimes symptoms of heart disease may not be noticeable until it’s too late—heart attack, irregular heartbeat or heart failure may be the first noticeable signs of heart disease. Also, high blood pressure—which is said to affect nearly 50% of men—is a major risk factor for both heart disease and stroke. These highlight the importance of routine screening and your annual health check.
Maintaining a healthy weight, choosing healthier foods, monitoring your blood pressure, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake, and lowering your stress levels are strong choices to help you avoid heart disease.
Prediabetes is when blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. It is estimated that nearly 52.3 million US adult men have prediabetes, and, without taking action, many men with prediabetes go on to develop Type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions or diseases. This includes non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLD) as well as chronic kidney disease (CKD) and even colorectal cancer (CRC). The risk for heart disease is higher for those who have diabetes. It is important to speak with your healthcare provider if you think you may be at risk for diabetes.
With Type 2 diabetes, your body cannot properly use insulin, a hormone necessary for removing excess sugar (glucose) from your blood. You can be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at any age, but you are at higher risk if you:
- Are 45 years or older
- Are overweight
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Are not physically active
- Are a woman who had or has gestational diabetes
Steps taken to help prevent heart disease also can help you from developing prediabetes or other health conditions.
As men age, there is a natural decline in testosterone, the main sex hormone in men. In fact, testosterone levels in men decline at an average rate of 1 to 2% per year. However, low levels of testosterone can lead to hypogonadism, a condition that can lead to:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Lower muscle strength
- Weakened bone strength
- Less energy
- Problems with fertility
Speaking with your healthcare provider and getting tested and screened for heart disease, diabetes and testosterone levels is a necessary first step to checking in on your health. Whether you’re looking to gain insight into these concerns individually or want a comprehensive look—Labcorp OnDemand offers a suite of tests such as the Men’s Health Test, Total Testosterone Test, Heart Health Test and our new Diabetes Risk At-Home Test.
Male fertility isn’t discussed nearly enough—this means there are a lot of myths and misinformation about this very important aspect of men’s health. Here are four main facts about male fertility you should know:
1) Male infertility is more common than you think. According to The Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences (2015), approximately 40-50% of infertility issues in all couples are due to the male reproductive system. As data continues to show that sperm quality is dropping worldwide, these numbers are likely to increase.
2) Age does matter. It turns out that sperm quality naturally declines after age 35. If you’re trying to conceive with your partner, age becomes a factor for both of you, especially considering the recent trend to delay childbearing.
3)Healthy life choices improve fertility odds. Just like your heart health, fertility can be affected by factors such as obesity, inactivity and increased use of substances like tobacco and alcohol. Choosing a healthy lifestyle will benefit your reproductive health.
4) A sperm test is easy to perform. Infertility weighs heavily on millions of people. Ask your healthcare provider about our Men’s Rapid Fertility Test. It’s FDA-cleared and allows for fast, easy and private assessment of sperm concentration and semen volume, two important measures in male fertility. Evaluating sperm over time helps determine if certain lifestyle choices have had an impact on your overall reproductive health—and our Refill Kit allows for monitoring fertility over time.
The prostate plays a major role in male reproductive function—it produces prostatic fluid, which helps prolong sperm life and contributes to semen volume. Anyone with a prostate gland is at risk for prostate cancer, but the most common risk factor is age. Family history (or genetic factors) and race also play a role. Risk increases for those with more than one first-degree relative who has or has had prostate cancer, as well as in Black people assigned male at birth.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following symptoms are associated with prostate cancer and should be addressed immediately:
- Difficulty beginning urination
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Interrupted urine flow
- Pain or burning during urination
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Painful ejaculation
Many men who have prostate cancer never experience symptoms, so they don’t know they have it; that’s why getting screened for prostate cancer with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test can give you and/or your healthcare provider peace of mind or information about next steps. Learn more about PSA tests and you can even order your own from Labcorp OnDemand.
Guidelines and recommended ages for testing
If you attend recommended wellness checkups with your healthcare provider, they may speak to you about routine screenings based on your health as you age. Age-based screenings are an important part of your overall health.
Consult the following recommendations for screenings and tests based on age:
• Men 18-39
• Men 40+
For whatever reasons—inconvenience, vulnerability, fear—many men don’t see their healthcare providers as often as they should. Checking in on your health doesn’t have to be a challenge. With Labcorp OnDemand’s convenient testing solutions, you’ve got the option to test at-home or at one of our many Labcorp locations. A healthier you is one click away—explore over 40 tests including Men’s Health Test, Total Testosterone Test, Heart Health Test and more.