By the time a man reaches 40, he’s hopefully in possession of a job, a strong moral compass, a nice-fitting suit, and his health. That last one is a doozy because if said guy is 40, according to the Social Security Administration’s Life Expectancy Calculator, he can expect to live another 41.9 years. So make the second half of a man’s life as happy and healthy as possible. Here are 10 of the most important health risks to be aware of for men in their forties:
High Cholesterol: Eating double cheeseburgers and fries are par for the culinary course when guys are younger, but the high-fat diet can lead to high cholesterol in one’s fourth decade. Keep cholesterol in check naturally is with diet and exercise, eating foods low in fat, and high in fiber. Some men will need to take medications to help control their cholesterol.
High Blood Pressure: The kissing cousin to high cholesterol is high blood pressure. As cholesterol in men goes up, so does blood pressure. Stress and diet contribute to this medical problem, and usually the stressors of work and family are high in a man’s middle years. A healthy diet, exercise and sometimes medication are necessary to keep blood pressure under control
Skin Cancer: “Moles behaving badly” include basal and squamous cell carcinomas and melanoma. The latter is the most dangerous, and according to Men’s Health Journal, most men diagnosed with melanoma have had it for a while and either ignored the signs or simply didn’t recognize them. An annual skin exam by a dermatologist is recommended as is preventative techniques such as using SPF 30, wearing protective clothing and hats and avoiding being outside during peak sun hours.
Erectile Dysfunction: Erectile dysfunction disorder is not fatal in itself, but if occurring in men at age 40, it could indicate other health problems, such as depression, multiple sclerosis or vascular disease. An otherwise healthy man suffering EDD should see a doctor or urologist to determine if any other health problems are present. Worse comes to worse, popping a prescription little blue pill like Viagra can get things under the sheets under control.
Diabetes: A diet high in Big Gulps and Big Macs can lead to adult-onset diabetes when men reach their 40s, due to an increase in blood sugars. Make dietary changes and lose some weight to help prevent Type 2 diabetes before it can lead to bigger health problems such as kidney failure and loss of circulation.
Obesity: Admit it, you’ve seen the scale’s needle creep up with each passing year. Men, just like women, can no longer eat the same as they did when they were younger due to a slowing metabolism. Practice portion control, make healthy food choices and exercise to stave off the larger clothing sizes and health problems that arise with obesity.
Kidney Stones: The closest a man can get to experience childbirth is passing a kidney stone. According to Harvard Men’s Health Watch, excess calcium deposits start building up in men in their 40’s therefore increasing their chances for kidney stones. My brother-in-law suffered when passing two stones and now is on a low-oxalate diet (limited beets, chocolate, spinach, rhubarb, tea, and most nuts) in hopes of preventing future ones. Kidney stones that are too large to pass need to be surgically removed.
Prostate Cancer: Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America, affecting 1 in 6 men, and the odds of being diagnosed with it, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, are exponentially higher once a man reaches 40. Fortunately, a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test or a digital rectal exam often catches this highly curable cancer at an early stage.
Tooth Decay: Teeth, just like bones, become weaker with age. They also begin to yellow and thin, leading to decay. Good dental care is important in one’s 40s. Fake hair is one thing, false teeth are on a whole different level.
Hearing Damage: It’s rare to see a young man today without a pair of headphones attached to his ears. Overexposure to loud noises and music has contributed to a modern phenomenon of men losing their hearing at increasingly earlier ages. If you have ringing or “muffling” in your ears for more than 24 hours after exposure to loud music, get a hearing check-up by an audiologist, and for gosh sakes, give your ears a rest!