Myth or fact? Men's health issues

Posted at 10:01 AM, May 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-31 10:12:07-04

June is Men's Health Month. Some men's health issues are well known; others may seem well known but are actually tales that have been propagated over time.

To help pick out the truth, check out these facts and myths about men's health.

Myth: Only overweight men have heart problems.

Fact: Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States.

In 2009, more than 307,000 men died of heart disease, which is 1 in 4 male deaths. The scariest part? No previous symptoms are reported in half the men who die suddenly of coronary heart disease.

On the bright side, in thelatest data released from the American Heart Association this year, the death rate from heart disease has fallen about 38 percent. However, the risk factors remain high.

Men should pay attention to the risk factors that may cause heart disease, including high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and smoking. Other risk factors include being overweight, poor diet and physical inactivity.



Myth: Osteoporosis only affects women.

Fact: Men make up a significant portion of people with osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bone weakness, leading to greater risk of breaking. According to an International Osteoporosis Foundation survey, of the 1,200 adults surveyed, 93 percent did not know how common osteoporosis is in men. In fact, one-third of all hip fractures occur in men worldwide.

"It's a myth that osteoporosis is only a woman's disease,"Amy Porter, CEO of the National Osteoporosis Foundation, said in a news release. "And with doctors not addressing the topic of bone health with their male patients, men don't know they may be at risk for osteoporosis and are left vulnerable to broken bones and the pain and loss of independence that comes with osteoporosis."

Fewer than 20 percent of men who have a fracture are being treated for osteoporosis. If properly diagnosed, men may be able to prevent future fractures and early death.

Myth: Men without symptoms don't need prostate cancer checkups.

Fact: 1 in 7 men are affected by prostate cancer

Data from the Prostate Cancer Foundation reveals that nearly 220,800 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2015. Also, an estimated 3 million men in the U.S. have prostate cancer.

Men more likely to have prostate cancer include black men, older men and those with a family history of prostate cancer. Some of them will experience symptoms such as frequent, hesitant or burning urination and pain or stiffness in the lower back.

If diagnosed and treated early, the cure rate for prostate cancer is high, so mean can be disease-free after five years.

Myth: Loss of muscle mass is inevitable as men age.

Fact: Men can keep their muscle mass if they continue to work out.

The evidence seems profound: Men who are older become weaker. However, research shows, with proper nutrition and daily exercise, men can be strong at any age.

University of Pittsburg researchers recruited 40 athletes, from 40 to 81, who were healthy and in good shape. Their muscle mass was measured over time, and it showed little evidence of deterioration. Instead, researchers posited misuse has more to do with muscle loss than age.

"... People don't have to lose muscle mass and function as they grow older," Vonda Wright, who oversaw the study, said in the New York Times. "The changes that we've assumed were due to aging and therefore were unstoppable seem actually to be caused by inactivity. And that can be changed."