Is Respiratory Diseases in Men growing?
Yes, this is true. According to the latest data reported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average American female lives 5 years longer than an average American male. This data is alarming at so many levels; especially since in a number of cases, low life expectancy in males is attributed mainly to the lack of concern and poor lifestyle choices in males. For example, data reported by National Center for Health Statistics suggested that about 20% males or 1 in 5 males have not seen any healthcare provider in the past 5 years. Lets look into respiratory diseases.
This year at National Men’s Health Week, the goal is to highlight the most common yet preventable diseases among men by educating the masses and creating awareness as to how simple lifestyle modifications can improve the quality of life and overall health outcomes.
Prevalence of Lower Respiratory Diseases in Men:
Chronic lower respiratory disease is an umbrella term that include health issues like emphysema, chronic bronchitis and COPD (or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). According to latest data reported by Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 70,000 men in US suffers an early death due to chronic respiratory diseases. It is noteworthy that these statistics makes lower respiratory diseases as the 4th most common cause of death – attributing to about 5.2% of all deaths among US males each year.
What increases the risk of developing Respiratory diseases in men?
Several congenital (by birth), genetic (inherited from either parents) and acquired (environmental) risk factors are involved in the pathogenesis of respiratory diseases in males. Following are the most established risk factors that are usually seen in the setting of respiratory diseases:
- Exposure to toxins and chemicals: Lung or respiratory mucosa may undergo transient or permanent damage due to toxic exposure to certain chemicals such as pollutants or gases in air, carcinogens or irritants in the automobile smoke or other sources of pollutants.
- Certain occupational choices such as workers in paint, automobile and antifreeze industry are also at much higher risk of developing chronic respiratory diseases.
- History of smoking is perhaps the most common risk factor among males who suffers from respiratory diseases. Chronic smoking is a recognized risk factor in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung, oral, esophagus and throat cancers, emphysema, asthma, smokers cough and other ailments.
What are some classic symptoms of respiratory diseases?
The sign and symptoms of respiratory diseases vary according to the nature and severity of illness. Classic symptoms are:
- Persistent cough
- Changes in the quality of voice
- Breathing difficulty
- Poor exercise tolerance
If you are experiencing disturbing respiratory symptoms, speak to your primary care provider at earliest convenience. Your doctor may advice you a variety of breathing tests to assess the lung functions. Depending upon the cause of your illness and intensity of symptoms, your doctor may advise you:
- Appropriate medications such as antibiotics, bronchodilators, antihistamines, steroids etc.
- Lifestyle modification; such as smoking cessation, weight reduction, exercise etc.
- More invasive testing or treatments for more serious diseases; especially when symptoms are indicative of an organic condition