In Oriental Medicine the masculine is considered yang. Yang is part of the concept of yin and yang, which is the interconnectedness between opposing or complementary energies. These energies interact to form a dynamic system greater than the parts. Examples of yin and yang are shadow and light, male and female, hot and cold. These are all interdependent with each other.
Men have a unique physiology, which must always be taken into account when diagnosing and treating health issues. A man’s hormonal balance is a dynamic equilibrium that shifts from day to day, week to week, and through the years. When the male body is supported, it can effectively reset itself, because of the body’s natural tendency towards balance.
Because of the yang nature of men, they tend to over expend their energies. This over expansion leads to injury and disease.
Common problems that Dr. Duckworth encounters with men are traumatic injuries to muscles, bones and tendons. Unintentional injury is the leading cause of death in men. Heart disease is another problem concern for men. It is estimated that 1 in 3 males have some form of heart disease. High Blood Pressure is occurring more and more in younger men. The third leading health problem for men is cancer.
Usually lifestyle change will help all three of these health issues. (see Wellness Coaching)
Some easy changes to consider are:
- Don’t smoke. If you do join a program to help you to stop smoking.
- Eat healthy foods. Avoid eating highly processed foods and too many carbohydrates.
- Exercise regularly.
- Limit alcohol: 2 drinks a day for men 65 or younger; one drink for men older than 65.
- Lose excess weight; considered a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes.
Health problems you should pay attention to:
Chest pain and/or Shortness of breath
Pain in your chest or shortness of breath is a big signal that you may be suffering from coronary ischemia, a partial or complete blockage of an artery that carries blood to the heart. You need to contact your doctor immediately.
If the scale is showing you have lost a lot of weight and you aren’t trying, you need to consult your physician. Weight loss may be an indicator of many health problems including the possibility of cancer.
Your Grandmother was correct in paying a lot of attention to the daily condition of her bowel. The condition of your bowel movements gives important information as to the health of your bowel. Constipation happens occasionally but if it becomes chronic it may indicate there is a blockage such as a polyp or tumor. Constipation can also lead to hemorrhoids. Frequent diarrhea can be a sign of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or even colitis. If diarrhea becomes chronic it needs to be addressed. Stools should be formed yet soft and brown or green in color. If you have a black or bloody stool you need to get seen by your Doctor. Changes to your diet often will correct many bowel problems.
Frequent urination is when you are forced to get up multiple times at night and you are always looking for a bathroom. This can be a signal that your blood sugar is too high, a sign of diabetes. Frequent nocturnal urination, decreased urinary flow, pain in the pelvic region or blood in your urine can indicate prostate enlargement.
If you have heartburn and indigestion after every meal, it might be gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). People often don’t know that they have GERD. One tell tale symptom is chronic coughing, just a little cough. Repeated reflux can damage the lining of you esophagus and if severe can lead to cancer of the esophagus. Changing your diet often corrects reflux.
Frequent waking and snoring
If you find yourself waking up many times at night or your partner complains about your loud snoring you may have obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which the muscles in your throat relax and temporarily block your airway while you’re sleeping. Ongoing sleep apnea can cause chronic fatigue and may eventually damage your heart.
Andropause and male reproductive changes
When men reach their late forties to early fifties, their yang energy may start to wane. Their yin energy may increase to supplement this decreased energy in the yang energy. This energy change can manifest as weight gain, prostate enlargement because of increase of estrogen and decrease of testosterone, a reduction in libido (sex drive), erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and feeling depressed. These changes can occur gradually over time.
As men age their reproductive system changes. The testicular tissue mass decreases and the level of the male sex hormone testosterone may stay the same or decreases slightly.
Because of the decrease in testosterone, there may be a decrease in libido. Sexual responses may become slower and less intense. But this may also be caused by illness or medications.
Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy
Benign prostatic hypertrophy affects about 50% of men. Urination and ejaculation are both affected. Because of the interference with urination, older men may have urinary tract infection more frequently. Prostate gland infections or inflammation (prostatitis) may also occur.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
Erectile Dysfunction may be caused by a decrease of testosterone. Erections may occur less frequently than when a man was younger. ED can also be caused by medications such as hypertension medication. Diabetes is also a known cause for ED. ED is most often the result of a medical condition. ED that is caused by medications or illness is often successfully treated. Cancer Prostate cancer is one of the most frequent causes of cancer death in men. Bladder cancer also becomes more common with age. Testicular cancers are possible, but these occur more often in younger men.
Prostate cancer becomes more common as men age. It is one of the most frequent causes of cancer death in men. Bladder cancer also becomes more common with age. Testicular cancers are possible, but these occur more often in younger men.
Are you at risk?
If you’re a man, you’re at risk for prostate cancer. Other risk factors include:
- Age: About two-thirds of all cases are diagnosed at age 65 and above.
- Family history: If your father or brother has prostate cancer, your risk may be twice as high as average.
- Race: African-American men have a higher risk of prostate cancer than white men.
- Diet: A high-fat diet may contribute to prostate cancer risk.
Warning signs and symptoms
While early-stage prostate cancer has no symptoms, there may be some warning signs that indicate prostate problems. These include:
- Difficulty starting or stopping urination
- Frequent urination
- Painful urination or ejaculation
If you experience these symptoms, make an appointment with your physician.
Prevention and screening
The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test is the only screening tool for early detection of prostate cancer. PSA is produced by the prostate gland; elevated PSA levels may signify prostate cancer or other prostate problems. In recent years this test has become controversial and has been questioned because of the high of a rate of positive tests.