In an interview with the Health Channel, Dr. Manuel Torres, a Family Medicine Physician at Baptist Health Primary Care, describes the leading causes of death for men and how they can be prevented.
The number one leading cause of death, not just in men but for everybody, is heart disease. “The wonderful thing about heart disease is it is completely preventable. We think about major risk factors for heart disease: diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol; each one of those is preventable and treatable,” Dr. Torres explains. He goes on to state that the second largest cause of death in men is cancer. Unlike heart disease, cancer is dynamic. Treatments and strategies in preventing cancer change depending on which type of cancer it is.
According to Dr. Torres, the next most common cause of death is unintentional injury. Unintentional injury is seen more prevalently in younger men. “When I think of unintentional injuries, I think about violence, accidents, those kinds of things. Obviously, those are more common at a younger age,” Dr. Torres elaborates. Unintentional injury is also seen in the elderly. Chronic lower respiratory diseases are the next leading cause, and similarly to heart disease, this can be preventable. If you avoid smoking and keep your vaccines up to date, such as flu shots and pneumonia vaccination, then you can avoid a lot of respiratory issues.
“For strokes, which are the fifth leading cause of death in men, they have the same preventable risk factors as the others we have talked about. High blood pressure, cholesterol, and smoking all contribute to the risk of stroke. After strokes, the next leading cause of death in men is diabetes.” Dr. Torres explains further, “Diabetic screening is one of the easiest things to test for, fasting blood tests, it can’t get any easier than that. The numbers are pretty easy to interpret, both for patient and physician. The initial treatment for diabetes may be a whole lot less complex than what that treatment may be when your diabetes has had a chance to elaborate.”
Suicide is the next most common cause of death in men and most commonly occurs in older men. They are the number one demographic that commits successful suicide, so we must be wary of depression in the elderly. Next is Alzheimer’s disease and unfortunately, Alzheimer’s is tough to prevent. “Alzheimer’s is something that is very challenging, that has a lot of back and forth as to how and what is the best way to prevent Alzheimer’s,” Dr. Torres says. The last two leading causes of death in men are pneumonia/influenza and chronic liver disease. “We have already gone over how pneumonia and influenza are preventable with vaccination, liver disease is also preventable. Chronic liver disease depends on whether we’re talking about alcohol associated with chronic liver disease or acquired chronic liver disease from hepatitis, those kinds of things. But obesity can lead to that too,” Dr. Torres concludes.
Watch the full segment of Dr. Manuel Torres describing male health risks, here: https://youtu.be/cHmfny-hJqU