Read on for a special report from our health partners The Doctors. / Fotosearch/Getty Images
Some health conditions only affect men — like erectile dysfunction and prostate cancer. Others strike more men than women, including stroke and diabetes. And you might be surprised to learn that accidents — such as car crashes — are mens No. 3 leading cause of death. Here are strategies pulled from the latest studies that may help prevent, protect against and treat some of today’s top health health problems for men.
Skim to prevent stroke
A Swedish study of more than 75,000 older adults over 10 years found that those who drank low-fat milk and ate low-fat yogurt and cheese reduced their risk of stroke by up to 13% compared with those who ate high-fat dairy foods. Choosing low-fat dairy also is an established strategy to reduce high blood pressure, a major risk factor for stroke.
Prostate cancer fight gets secret ingredient
The science is preliminary, but the results, so far, are promising: Researchers at Long Island University are currently testing carvacrol, a component of oregano, on prostate cancer cells. Initial data presented at this year’s Experimental Biology conference indicate the compound is a potent cancer fighter, that induces apoptosis (or cell suicide) in the cancer cells.
Hair-loss idea has legs
It sounds weird, but according to a recent report, the hair on your legs may be better suited to restore a receding hairline. Traditional hair transplants take follicles from the back of the head, which happens to be the thickest and may look harsh and unnatural on the hairline. The new procedure takes follicles from the leg, where hair is softer and finer. The look is more natural, but costs thousands of dollars for some patients.
ED? Rethink your meds
The more pills a man pops, the more likely he is to have erectile dysfunction. Researchers surveyed nearly 38,000 men between the ages of 45 to 69: About 16% who took two or fewer prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs reported erectile dysfunction, compared with 31% of men who took 10 or more. Symptoms were more severe among the men who took more medications. The most common drugs associated with ED include blood pressure and antidepression medications. If you experience sexual problems, review your current medications with your doctor.
Asleep at the wheel? This'll wake you up
Car crashes are the leading category of fatal accidents among men, and about one in six of those involve a drowsy driver. A recent poll shows that one in 10 drivers, ages 16 to 45, gets behind the wheel drowsy once or twice a week. Sleepiness can cause slow reaction times, vision impairment and lapses in judgment. Before a road-trip, get enough sleep the night before, and stop every 100 miles or two hours for a break.
Little blue 'pill' cuts diabetes risk
People who have a cup or more a week of blueberries had a 23% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with those who ate none, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says. Apples may reduce your risk as well. Scientists think certain flavonoids, or natural compounds, found in these fruits may have protective effects. These same fruit selections, along with tea and red wine, also may cut a man’s risk of Parkinson’s disease by 40%, other research suggests. In the USA, up to 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s are diagnosed each year; about 1 million people have the degenerative brain disorder.
Play Whac-A-Mole with skin cancer
You may not associate men with skin cancer as quickly as you do prostate cancer, but you should. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the USA, and when it comes to melanoma, the most serious type, women are 30% more likely to survive than men, research shows. A lot has to do with nature: Male melanoma patients were found to have worse disease characteristics at diagnosis and worse disease progression. When melanoma spreads, it can be deadly; but when it’s found early and treated, the cure rate is nearly 100%. Taking the time to examine moles is a good way to find melanoma early. Look for asymmetry, an irregular border, varied color, a diameter larger than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) or a mole that has changed in size, color and shape.