If you’re a man trying taking care of your health, bravo. Men are far less inclined to seek health care information. If you have a loved one to nudge about his health, then this information is for you, too.
In the third of this three-part series, we’ll look at health issues that can affect a man in his 50s and older. There are still actions you can take to protect and several tips
In your 50s
A sedentary man loses muscle mass at the rate of about 10 percent per decade after age 50. What does that mean? You got it…continue to exercise regularly. The benefits of exercise at this point are many and can go straight to your head. In fact, moderate aerobic exercise increases blood flow in your body including your brain. This increased stimulation may signal the growth of new brain cells which will help memory functions. Better blood flow can also help delay or reverse aging in your arteries to protect them and you against heart disease.
If you’ve been lifting weights, keep it up. If you haven’t, it’s not too late to start to help prevent osteoporosis. Strength training is a great bone builder. Take a calcium supplement, too, if recommended. It is also important to maintain good balance and flexibility. You may need to work at it. Strengthening your feet, ankles, and core helps with both posture and balance.
Joint pain can creep up on you, caused by overuse, old or new injuries, and the beginning of osteoarthritis. Besides being painful, this can severely limit your mobility. Stretching and lower impact exercise, such as biking and walking, will be beneficial to help keep joints healthy.
Drink more water. After the age of 57, the amount of water found in your body actually drops from 61 to 54 percent. Because of this, you run a greater risk of overheating, heatstroke, and even urinary tract issue, so be aware and drink more fluids.
Your risk of prostate cancer continues to increase in your 50s. By the time men are in their 60s, 1 in 3 are diagnosed with prostate cancer. However, survival rates are high if caught early. Know the signs and see your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following:
• dull pain in the lower pelvic area
• frequent urination
• inability to urinate, pain or weakened urine flow
• blood in your urine or semen
• painful ejaculation
• general pain in lower back, hips or upper thighs
• loss of appetite and/or weight
• persistent bone pain
Your doctor can use a blood test to measure your prostate specific antigen (PSA) level and a digital rectal exam to detect any abnormalities.
At age 50, the Centers for Disease Control also recommends colorectal cancer screening. If you have no family history of colorectal cancer, then, at age 50, have a colonoscopy. If your colon is “clean,” you probably won’t need another for five years.
Continue regular visits to your physician. He will still monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels. Knowing your body and taking good care of yourself at every age is important. Proper screenings and early detection are key to prevent or treat any issues you may experience as you age.