Prostate Health: A Fight Every Man Will Face
Every man who lives long enough will face prostate symptoms. All men will also see a decrease in testosterone levels as they age and many men will have difficulty controlling their blood sugar levels as the mechanisms that regulate it fail over time. These three contributors to accelerated aging are intertwined and routinely related. Luckily, with a little attention, a man can maintain health despite the physiologic challenges of being a guy.
Prostate symptoms can include hesitancy of urination or trouble going, increased frequency of urination, sexual dysfunction, and other symptoms that can mimic back pain or digestive concerns. Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) or enlarged prostate is very common especially in men over 55 years old. However, younger men may experience symptoms of BPH as well and BPH isn't the only concern with the prostate.
Prostatitis can be infectious or non-infectious and prostate cancer can be confused with BPH. It makes sense to be screened for prostate health, yet even this has come under fire recently. The PSA or prostate-specific antigen blood test has been used routinely to screen for prostate cancer, often along with a physical examination. However, the value of this test is hotly debated, with no real alternative screening procedure.
To add complication to a man's vigilance to his prostate health is that symptoms of blood sugar regulation can mimic symptoms of an enlarged prostate. For example, diabetes or even a prediabetic state can cause increased frequency and volume of urination known as polyuria. Polyuria as well as BPH may result in nocturnal urination or waking up to go at night. Polyuria in diabetes or prediabetes often accompany excessive thirst (polydipsia) and increased appetite (polyphagia). However, increased thirst and appetite may simply be caused by mild to moderate dehydration, stress, or even changes in one's schedule.
As if that were not hard enough, the constant decreased production of testosterone can cause depression, sexual performance challenges, blood sugar dysregulation, and can contribute to the increased size of prostate tissue. The effect of testosterone in prostate health is also a debated topic among medical circles. Quite often, improvements to testosterone can alleviate prostate symptoms yet testosterone may feed an existing prostate cancer.
So, when motivated to improve the health of an aging male body, it is important to take a full look at all of these aspects to catch dysfunction as early as possible to improve quality of life. Here are the biomarker players of the aging male.
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