Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, abbreviated as BPH, simply means enlargement of the prostate gland.

While BPH is not cancer and doesn’t cause cancer, it’s always best to get checked out by your urologist if you’re experiencing any symptoms of an enlarged prostate (frequent or difficult urination) to ensure there are no other health issues present.

Your prostate produces fluid that protects your semen; however, your urethra goes through your prostate also, so problems with your prostate usually result in some urinary problems. If you’re not experiencing symptoms, it’s good to ask about the risk factors of BPH to know your risk. What are the top three risk factors of benign prostatic hyperplasia?

  1. Age

The older you are, the more likely you are to have an enlarged prostate. Even though it’s not known why this is, many men will experience symptoms around age 50 and even more so later in life. This is why it’s important to care for your body as you age. With your risk for more health problems such as heart disease, arthritis, and cancer increasing as you age, you’ll want to ensure you’re in your best health for your later years.

Although older age is an uncontrollable risk factor for BPH, you can do things now to take care of your body and ensure your prostate is healthy, such as exercising, eating well, and reducing stress.

  1. Lifestyle Factors

Your lifestyle is one of the controllable factors of getting BPH as you age. This means you have total control over what you eat, your stress level, your physical activity level, whether or not you smoke and drink, etc. Although there are certain risk factors you cannot control, take advantage of the fact that you can control your lifestyle. Your lifestyle factors could mean the difference between you having BPH and not having it.

Exercising is an important part of health. Obesity increases your risk of getting BPH as you age, as well as other unhealthy lifestyle factors such as smoking, eating lots of sugar and bad fats, meats, and having a sedentary job. Keeping active as well as exercising and eating well can decrease your risk for having an enlarged prostate. Taking advantage of this controllable factor can help you feel great as well as prevent many diseases, not just an enlarged prostate.

  1. Family History

Having a family history such as a male relative who’s had BPH or other prostate problems could mean you’re set up to have issues with your prostate as well. It’s always good to educate yourself about your health and know about your family’s medical history. This way, you can discuss with your doctor what your risk is and how you can help minimize it.

Even though you might have age and a family history against you, lifestyle factors should not be neglected. In fact, this should be even more reason to have a healthy lifestyle. You can still take control of your health and do good things for your body by staying active and maintaining your healthy lifestyle.

If you have one or several risk factors for BPH, talk with your doctor even before you experience symptoms. Since many men experience BPH later in life, chances are you may have an enlarged prostate at some point in your life. Consider your age and inquire about your family history, but don’t forget to exercise, reduce stress, and eat well—this could help you minimize your chances of getting BPH even if you have a family history.