WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bringing attention to a number of health risks facing men in the U.S., the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) today recognizes National Men’s Health Week as a time to encourage diagnostic lab testing and early detection as some of the greatest tools in fighting common diseases that strike men.
According to Men’s Health Network, in 1920, women lived, on average, one year longer than men. Today, that number has grown to five years longer. While men face unique health challenges, one of the most dangerous is their reluctance to seek health care. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), men are 24 percent less likely than women to have seen a doctor in the past year.
“Many of the major health risks that face men can actually be prevented and treated with earlier diagnosis,” said ACLA President, Alan Mertz. “A regular doctor visit will provide screening tests that can often detect diseases earlier when they are easier to treat.”
According to research, the top three diseases threatening the health and lives of men are:
According to the CDC, heart disease killed over 300,000 men in 2009, making it the deadliest disease for men. Leading causes of heart disease are high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and smoking. However, basic screening tests for blood pressure, fasting lipoprotein, body mass-index (BMI), and blood glucose levels can quickly identify red flags in heart health.
The three most prominent non-skin cancers in men are prostate, lung and colorectal, in that order. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, 1 in 6 men in America has prostate cancer and an additional 233,000 will be diagnosed in 2014. Early stages of prostate cancer show little or no symptoms, and can be diagnosed at a physician check-up with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exam (DRE). When caught early, the cure rate is very high—nearly 100% of men diagnosed at this stage will be disease-free after five years.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 795,000 people in the U.S. have strokes every year, and of these incidents, 137,000 of the people die. While stroke risk is high in both men and women, the stroke risk for men is 1.25 times that for women. High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and smoking are leading stroke causes, similar to heart disease.
“Clinical laboratories provide the critical information needed for 70% of physician decisions and aid early diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases that, when caught early, prevent years of increasing costs to the healthcare system,” said Mertz. “Men’s Health Week is a good time for the U.S. male population to access the medical and scientific tools available to help them live longer, healthier lives.”