Common Health Concerns for Men

As anyone would, men also face certain threats to their health as they age. It isn’t unusual for men to go to the doctor less frequently than women. As a result, men are at a much higher risk of developing serious, life-threatening health conditions.

Below, Vancouver physician Dr. Ali Ghahary outlines some of the different health concerns amongst men, along with information on how they are diagnosed and what you can do to treat them.

Ali Ghahary - Men's Health Concerns

1. Prostate Cancer
Prostate Cancer Canada recommends that men be screened for prostate cancer by the age of 40 – this according to new guidelines released in 2013. As of 2016, over 20,000 Canadian men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 1 in 8 men will die from it. Prostate screening is initially done by a PSA test – a simple blood test that can determine the amount of PSA protein that is in your blood. Not only can a PSA test indicate whether or not you have prostate cancer, but it can also detect other prostate-related conditions. Common symptoms of prostate cancer include difficulty urinating or having a frequent urge to urinate (especially in the evening), painful urination, or the inability to urinate. Symptoms of prostate cancer are not always present, therefore early detection is important.

2. Heart Disease
While heart disease can affect men and women equally, it is still a health condition that men often worry about. If heart disease runs in your family, you area at a greater risk of developing heart disease yourself. However, other factors also play a part in determining whether or not you will develop heart disease at some point in life – including diet and exercise. It is important to see your physician for annual checkups. At an appointment, Dr. Ali Ghahary will check a patient’s blood pressure and also refer them for basic blood testing, which is often helpful in determining cholesterol levels. If high, this can be a precursor to heart disease.

3. Erectile Dysfunction
While this can be an uncomfortable subject for patients to talk about, it is more common than one might think. According to a recent study done on almost 5,000 Canadian men between the ages of 40 and 80, at least half of those have had ED. Men who have had their prostate removed, have diabetes, and smoke are at a greater risk of developing it.

4. Weight Management
As men age, their metabolism slows down. If your metabolism is slow, your weight can increase. It is important to stay physically fit and make healthy food choices. Read Dr. Ali Ghahary’s articles titled ‘The Surprising Health Benefits of Exercise’ and ‘Weight Loss and Weight Management’ for more information.

While these certainly are not all of the health concerns that men are faced with, they are some of the most common.


ALS Awareness and Support

ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease or Motor Neuron Disease, is a condition that affects individuals when the bran is unable to properly communicate with the body’s muscles. Motor neurons serve as the body’s internal wiring and help you move around. With ALS, these motor neurons gradually break down. When this occurs, you will slowly lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, swallow and even breathe. As ALS progresses, these symptoms will worsen.

ALS - Ali Ghahary
The blue and white ribbon signifies support for those living with ALS.

There are two types of ALS: Sporadic ALS, which is the most common form of ALS can affects individuals of any gender, ethnicity or age (though it typically affects people between the ages of 40 and 60), and Familial ALS. Familial ALS is passed from parent to child, and accounts for up to 10 percent of ALS cases. Another form of ALS, known as Bulbar ALS, affects up to 30 percent of ALS patients. With Bulbar ALS, muscles in the head, face and neck become paralyzed. Typically, symptoms (such as changes in voice or speech/articulation) of Bulbar ALS are not present until later stages of the condition.

There are currently over 200,000 people worldwide living with ALS, with approximately 3,000 of those being in Canada.

There is not one particular thing that causes ALS. Instead, it has a wide array of causes which can include changes in genes, and even environmental factors. As more ALS research is done, the ALS Society of Canada will have a better understanding of what else triggers it. Due to ALS having symptoms that mimic other diseases (such as thyroid disorders or lyme disease), it can initially be difficult to diagnose. In order to properly diagnose ALS, Dr. Ali Ghahary will review the patient’s symptoms and rule out other health conditions. This can be done by administering blood and urine tests, as well as referring patients for electrodiagnostic tests such as an EMC, and magnetic resonance imagine (MRI.)

Since ALS is a progressive disease, there is no cure. You may face challenges as you begin to adapt to the symptoms associated with ALS, therefore it is important to have a good support system in place. Primary care physicians, like Dr. Ali Ghahary in Vancouver, are available to better explain ALS and will also consult with other healthcare providers. As ALS can affect the ability to swallow, seeking advice from a dietician is also beneficial in helping you to maintain proper nutrition. The ALS Society of BC also provides support to ALS patients, and they even offer an equipment loan program that includes mobility equipment, lift equipment, communicative devices, bathroom aids, beds and other accessories. All of this equipment is available at no charge.

For more details on ALS and to take part in ALS Awareness Month, follow Dr. Ali Ghahary and the ALS Society on Twitter.