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When it comes to men's health, most guys pay more attention to their car. In fact, men see physicians 28 percent less often than women.

This isn't such a good idea. According to U.S. life insurance statistics, the average woman lives to age 79 – six years longer than men, who, on average, use more tobacco products, consume more alcohol, make poorer food choices and take more risks when driving.

Joh​n Colen, M.D., a board-certified urologist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, offers a brief overview of three important men's health issues and the best ways to avoid medical consequences for the long haul along life's winding road.

Potholes to Avoid on the Road to Health​

  • Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death for U.S. adults, accounting for about one-third of deaths for people over 35 – with the death rate inordinately higher for men.

HAZARD: High blood pressure, bad cholesterol levels or a family history of heart problems.

WHAT TO DO: Get annual physical exams. Know your cholesterol levels. Don’t smoke. If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. Eat more fruit, vegetables and high-fiber foods while avoiding saturated fats. Exercise 30 minutes, three to five times a week.

  • Diabetes leads to high glucose (sugar) levels in your blood.

HAZARD: Family history of diabetes, lack of regular exercise, being overweight or obese. Symptoms can include frequent urination, unusual thirst, erratic mood swings, extreme hunger or fatigue.

WHAT TO DO: Have your blood glucose level tested if exhibiting warning signs. Maintain a healthy weight range for your height and body type. Eat healthy, high-fiber foods, exercise regularly and consume alcohol in moderation.

  • Prostate cancer is second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths among American men.

HAZARD: Age – incidence rises considerably after 40. Risk is doubled if father or brother is affected. Smoking, sedentary lifestyle and poor diet also increase the risk. Symptoms can include difficult or painful urination, erectile dysfunction (ED), blood in urine or semen, and pain in lower back, hips or upper thighs.

WHAT TO DO: All men over 50 should ask their physician to check them for prostate disease, including enlargement, infection and cancer. If you have a family history of prostate cancer, or if you are African-American, it may be recommended that you get tested yearly after the age of 40.

A PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) blood test can be used to help detect these problems. However, sometimes the PSA is not elevated when there is a prostate disease and sometimes the test is positive and no significant disorder is discovered. Therefore, doctors often combine this blood test with a physical exam, including a rectal examination, to more accurately detect a problem with the prostate.

​​BEWARE: Sometimes there are no symptoms, making early detection all the more important.

"Take responsibility for your health," Dr. Colen concludes. "Remember, it's the only body you've got."​

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John Colen, MD

​I believe that my patients’ time is as important as mine. I make every effort to reduce patient wait time and provide thorough and detailed urologic care. I also place the utmost importance on being completely honest with each patient and truly listening to their concerns and needs.