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There is a difference. We all know that. And there are many a list of “best things” about being male–things like: a 5-day vacation only needs 1 suitcase, short bathroom lines, you don’t have to lug a bag of useful stuff everywhere, you can be showered and ready to go in 10 minutes, people don’t glance at your chest when you’re talking to them, your friend would never trap you with the question “notice anything different?” If you rise to prominence in an organization/role, no one will assume it is because you slept your way to the top, and even conventional language reflects your sex for example– mailman, fireman, manager.

Now, when it comes to health statistics, do males still have these so called male advantages?

There is an old joke that goes: “why do most men die before their wives? Because they want to!” But, the truth is men are at greater risk for many more health problems than their female counter parts, not the least of which is Sleep Apnea!

How Are You for Heart Disease?

Heart disease comes in many forms, all of which can lead to serious, fatal complications if left undetected. According to The American Heart Association more than one in three adult men has some form of cardiovascular disease.

What Happens with Stroke

Stroke targets an estimated 2.8 million men. Routine check-ups can help keep that heart beating.

How are Your Lungs?

Many respiratory diseases can begin with an innocent “smoker’s cough.”, but in time that cough can lead to life-threatening conditions such as lung cancer, emphysema, or COPD—all of which interfere with normal breathing. According to the American Lung Association, each year there is a growing number of men diagnosed with lung cancer.

Alcohol Use and Misuse

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, males face higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations than women do. Alcohol consumption increases risk for cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon. When it comes to your liver, your liver is important for digesting food, getting your nutrients and ridding yourself of toxins. Alcohol can create liver disease. Alcohol also interferes with testicular function and hormone production, resulting in erectile dysfunction and infertility.

How is Your Mood?

Researchers at The National Institute of Mental Health estimate that yearly, at least six million men suffer from depressive disorders including suicidal thoughts. If you’re depressed, the NIMH recommends exercise, set realistic goals, surround yourself with loved ones, postpone important decisions, seek professional help

How is Your Accident Proneness?

Motor vehicle death rates for male drivers and passengers ages 15 to 19 were almost twice that of females in 2006. And male workers incurred 92 percent of the 5,524-total reported fatal occupational injuries. Remember: you are a man but not Superman. Be careful.

Sugar Sugar Everywhere

Are you aware of your blood sugar health? Men with diabetes face greater risk for sexual impotence and lower testosterone levels, which can lead to increased depression or anxiety. untreated diabetes can lead to nerve and kidney damage, heart disease and stroke, and even vision problems or blindness. So be sure to use Healthy eating and exercise.

Your Skin

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, men over 50 are at highest risk for developing skin cancer—more than twice the rate as women. The reported reasons are from more sun exposure and fewer visits to the doctor. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend wearing long sleeves and pants, hats with wide brims, sunglasses, and sunscreen when outdoors for either fun or work.

Here is a Listing of Some Essential Screening Tests for Males

Prostate Cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in American men after skin cancer. Screening tests can find the disease early, sometimes before symptoms develop, when treatments are most effective The American Cancer Society recommends that all men have a testicular exam when they see a doctor for a routine physical.

Colorectal cancer. Men have a slightly higher risk of developing colon cancer than women. The majority of colon cancers slowly develop from colon polyps: growths on the inner surface of the colon. The way to prevent colon cancer is to find and remove polyps before they turn cancerous. A colonoscopy is a common test for detecting polyps and colorectal cancer. A doctor views the entire colon using a flexible tube and a camera. Polyps can be removed at the time of the test.

Skin Exam. The most dangerous form of skin cancer is melanoma. Older men are twice as likely to develop melanoma as women of the same age. Men are also 2-3 times more likely to get non-melanoma basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers than women are. Your risk increases as lifetime exposure to sun and/or tanning beds accumulates; sunburns accelerate risk. A skin exam by a dermatologist or other health professional should be part of a routine checkup.

Blood Pressure Readings. High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) The risk for high blood pressure increases with age. It’s also related to weight and lifestyle. High blood pressure can lead to severe complications without any prior symptoms, including an aneurysm — dangerous ballooning of an artery. But it can be treated Blood pressure readings give two numbers. The first (systolic) is the pressure in your arteries when the heart beats. The second (diastolic) is the pressure between beats. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher,

Blood Lipid Panel. Cholesterol Levels A high level of LDL cholesterol in the blood causes sticky plaque to build up in the walls of the arteries This increases your risk of heart disease the fasting blood lipid panel is a blood test that tells your levels of total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol, HDL “good” cholesterol, and triglycerides (blood fat). The results tell you and your doctor a lot about what you need to do to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Blood Sugar test. Type 2 Diabetes. One-third of Americans with diabetes don’t know they have it. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, blindness from damage to the blood vessels of the retina, nerve damage, and erectile dysfunction. This doesn’t have to happen. A fasting blood sugar test, glucose tolerance test, or an AIC all can be used alone or together to screen for diabetes.

PSA Level. Prostate Specific Antigen test is important for males to know because a PSA level above normal can be a sign of some problem with the prostate–an infection, enlargement, cancer and all can be treated.

Testosterone level. Testosterone is central to overall energy level, muscle strength and bone density as well as sex drive.

Insomnia and Sleep Problems in Males

Despite what you may think, some insomnia and sleep problems for males have nothing at all to do with their partners, or lack thereof, but totally with male testosterone.

sleeping and snoring problems

Recent studies have shown that men go through a similar condition to menopause, known as andropause, or low testosterone. Low testosterone is also known as “Low T.” Sleep apnea can be one of the complications of Low-T. Sleep apnea, is the interruption of normal breathing that can be either interrupted or stopped several or many times during a night causing a lack of normal sleep and REM time. Sleep apnea results in fatigue during the day, and other health problems. It has been estimated that 9% of adult males are affected by sleep apnea.

Research has shown that testosterone therapy has improved the symptoms of sleep apnea, because when testosterone levels are in an optimal range, slow wave or deep sleep is easier to achieve which makes for improved and more restful sleep.

Additionally, low testosterone and sleep apnea can lead to other problems including fatigue, reduced insulin sensitivity, low human growth hormone levels and high cortisol levels. Cortisol, is the stress hormone that will increase with continuing insomnia because of stress on the body. This sets up a vicious cycle. As cortisol further reduces testosterone levels, that leads to less sleep, less testosterone, which creates more fatigue, and other problems associated with Low-T

Like testosterone, Human growth hormone, (HGH) is essential to strength and vitality in men. HGH is usually made during the first 90 minutes of sleep. If your sleep is interrupted by sleep apnea, you will not produce HGH, which also leads to a drop-in testosterone levels, fatigue and muscle loss.

Your sleep is also important for insulin and glucose control, because when your sleep is interrupted, the body stops using insulin properly and begins to need more and more insulin to control blood sugar. And this leads to weight gain and, a greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Testosterone Levels

Testosterone levels increase as you go into REM sleep, and decrease when you are awake. Since sleep disorders such as sleep apnea limit REM sleep, researchers and professionals recognize this makes a relationship between sleep and sexual problems such as low libido and erectile dysfunction–issues where low testosterone can be the cause or a contributing factor to these problems.

There are many studies that show this link between Low-T and sleep issues. According to one study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology, men with low testosterone have reduced sleep efficiency, increased nighttime awakenings, less REM sleep more severe symptoms related to sleep apnea and other types of sleep disordered breathing.

However, medical professionals are not recommending testosterone therapy for sleep apnea, as information is still unclear about the effects of doses of testosterone on OSA. However, they do recommend paying attention to your sleep or lack of sleep, your breathing during sleep, and take steps to speak with your health professionals about alternative treatments for obstructive sleep apnea

Fatherhood and Sleep

Most men realize that once they become a dad, you could be looking at more than a few sleepless nights. However, did you know that poor sleep could influence your ability to conceive a child?

A more recent study in France revealed significant declines in sperm quality in men over a period of years. A more recent study in Spain attempted to find a relationship between OSA and male fertility. They studied male mice, exposing them to periods of oxygen deprivation followed by adding oxygen to replicate obstructive sleep apnea. After assessing the mice’ fertility they found a significant lower rate of fertility in mice with daily hypoxia episodes. These results may be of concern to older with untreated OSA who may want to have children.

Tips and Takeaways

  • Men tend to be at greater risk for heart disease, cancer and other serious health risks than women.
  • Men are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea than women.
  • Sleep and hormone regulation are related, poor sleep leads to hormone imbalances.
  • There is a definite link between low testosterone and sleep apnea.
  • Sleep apnea can lead to low sperm counts, and fertility issues.

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