Mens Health

Australian men are more likely than Australian women to get sick from serious health problems. Their mortality rate is also much higher. Men die in greater numbers than women from almost every non-sex-specific health problem. Overall, for every two women who die, three men die.

This figure holds true among children too. In deaths due to accidents or drowning, boys account for two out of three deaths.

Male deaths outnumber female deaths in every age group apart from the over-65 years, and only because so many men die before reaching retirement. Compared to women, men visit the doctor less frequently, have shorter visits and only attend when their illness is in its later stages. Men go to the doctor less than women and are more likely to have a serious condition when they do go, research shows. “As long as they’re working and feeling productive, most men aren’t considering the risks to their health,”.

But even if you’re feeling healthy, a little planning can help you stay that way. The top threats to men’s health aren’t secrets: they’re known, common, and often preventable. This list of the top health threats to men, and how to avoid them is a guide only.

Cardiovascular Disease: The Leading Men's Health Threat

“Heart disease and stroke are the first and second leading causes of death worldwide, in both men and women,” says Darwin Labarthe, MD, MPH, PhD, director of the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at the CDC. “It’s a huge global public health problem, and in the U.S. we have some of the highest rates.”

In cardiovascular disease, cholesterol plaques gradually block the arteries in the heart and brain. If a plaque becomes unstable, a blood clot forms, blocking the artery and causing a heart attack or stroke .

Get your cholesterol checked, beginning at age 25 and every five years.

Control your blood pressure and cholesterol, if they’re high.

If you smoke, stop.

Increase your physical activity level to 30 minutes per day, most days of the week.

Eat more fruits and vegetables and less saturated or trans fats.

Lung Cancer: Still a Health Threat to Men

Lung cancer is a terrible disease: ugly, aggressive, and almost always metastatic. Lung cancer spreads early, usually before it grows large enough to cause symptoms or even show up on an X­ray. By the time it’s found, lung cancer is often advanced and difficult to cure. Less than half of men are alive a year later.

So … are you still smoking?

Prostate Cancer: A Leading Cancer for Men

This is one health problem men can lay full claim to ­­ after all, women don’t have prostates. A walnut­sized gland behind the penis that secretes fluids important for ejaculation, the prostate is prone to problems as men age.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men other than skin cancer. Close to 200,000 men will develop prostate cancer this year in the U.S.

But while one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime, only one in 35 will die from it. “Many prostate cancers are slow­growing and unlikely to spread, while others are aggressive,” says Djenaba Joseph, MD, medical officer for cancer prevention at the CDC. “The problem is, we don’t have effective tests for identifying which cancers are more dangerous.”

Screening for prostate cancer requires a digital rectal exam (the infamous gloved finger) and a blood test for prostate specific antigen (PSA). Should you get screened for prostate cancer? Some experts say yes, but “the best solution is to see your doctor regularly and talk about your overall risk,” says Joseph. “All men should understand the risks and benefits of each approach, whichever you choose.”

Depression and Suicide: Men Are at Risk

Depression isn’t just a bad mood, a rough patch, or the blues. It’s an emotional disturbance that affects your whole body and overall health. In effect, depression proves the mind­body connection. Brain chemicals and stress hormones are out of balance. Sleep, appetite, and energy level are disturbed.

Research even suggests men with depression are more likely to develop heart disease.

Experts previously thought depression affected far more women than men. But that may just be men’s tendency to hide depressed feelings, or express them in ways different than women’s.

“Instead of showing sadness or crying, men get angry or aggressive,” says Porche.

“They feel it’s not OK for them to say, ‘I’m depressed,’ so they cope in other ways, like drinking too much.” Men are also less likely to seek help for depression.

Most men and women respond well to depression treatment with medications, therapy, or both. If you think you might be depressed, reach out to your doctor or someone close to you, and seek help.

Diabetes: The Silent Health Threat for Men

Diabetes usually begins silently, without symptoms. Over years, blood sugar levels creep higher, eventually spilling into the urine. The resulting frequent urination and thirst are what finally bring many men to the doctor.

The high sugar of diabetes is anything but sweet. Excess glucose acts like a slow poison on blood vessels and nerves everywhere in the body. Heart attacks , strokes, blindness, kidney failure, and amputations are the fallout for thousands of men.

Boys born in 2000 have an alarming one­in­three chance of developing diabetes in their lifetimes. Overweight and obesity are likely feeding the diabetes epidemic. Exercise, combined with a healthy diet, can prevent type 2 diabetes. Moderate weight loss ­­ for those who are overweight ­­ and 30 minutes a day of physical activity

Erectile dysfunction:

Erectile dysfunction may not be life threatening, but it’s still signals an important health problem. Two­thirds of men older than 70 and up to 39% of 40­year­old men have problems with erectile dysfunction . Men with ED report less enjoyment in life and are more likely to be depressed.

Erectile dysfunction is most often caused by atherosclerosis ­­ the same process that causes heart attacks and strokes. In fact, having ED frequently means that blood vessels throughout the body are in less­than­perfect health. Doctors consider erectile dysfunction an early warning sign for cardiovascular disease.

You’ve probably heard more about the numerous effective treatments for ED than you ever cared to just by watching the evening news. Treatments make a fulfilling sex life possible despite ED, but they don’t cure the condition. If you have erectile dysfunction, see your doctor, and ask if more than your sex life is at risk.


Australian Websites


Australia’s National Infertility Network is an independent, non-profit consumer based organisation who represent a national voice for infertile men and women.

Phone: 1800 888 896

Australian and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate Cancer Trials Group []

ANZUP is funded by Cancer Australia to develop and conduct cancer research in Urogenital and Prostate Cancers.

Australian Continence Exchange []

The Australian Continence Exchange provides access to information resources relating to incontinence.

Australian X and Y Spectrum Support []

The Australian Klinefelter Support Group, helping individuals and families affected by Klinefelter syndrome (47,XXY) and other sex chromosome variations.

Better Health Channel []

Better Health Channel is sponsored by the State Government of Victoria, Australia and provides information on general health and well-being.

Beyondblue []

Beyondblue is a national, independent, not-for-profit organisation working to address issues associated with depression, anxiety and related substance misuse disorders in Australia.

Phone: 1300 224 636

Cancer Councils []

The Cancer Councils provide information and support to people affected by cancer in Australia. There is an office in each state and territory in Australia, and resources are available by calling the Cancer Help Line.

Phone: 13 11 20

CanTeen []

CanTeen (The Australian Organisation for Young People Living with Cancer) is a national support organisation for 12 – 24 year olds who are living with cancer, and is the only organisation of its kind in Australia. Support is available for patients, siblings and children.

Phone: 1800 226 833

Chromosome Structure XY & Variations []

Chromosome Structure XY & Variations is a Queensland-based association aiming to help children, families, and partners affected by sex chromosome variations such as Klinefelter’s syndrome.

Phone: 0423 050 277

Continence Foundation of Australia []

Continence Foundation of Australia is the peak body for continence (bladder and bowel control), promotes community awareness, encourages people to seek help and advocates for those with incontinence and their carers.

Phone: 1800 330 066

Diabetes Australia []

Diabetes Australia is the national peak body for diabetes in Australia providing a single, powerful, collective voice for people living with diabetes, their families and carers.

Phone: 1300 136 588

Endocrine Society of Australia []

Endocrine Society of Australia is a national non-profit organisation made up of scientists and clinicians who conduct research and practice in the field of Endocrinology.

Family Planning Alliance Australia []

Family Planning Alliance Australia is the nation’s peak body in reproductive and sexual health. It promotes advances in public health through policy insight and advocacy and represents leading health and education agencies across Australia.

Fertility Society of Australia []

Fertility Society of Australia is the peak body representing scientists, doctors, researchers, nurses, consumer groups, patients and counsellors in reproductive medicine in Australia and New Zealand.

Foundation 49 []

Foundation 49 is dedicated to improving the health status of men across each decade of life.

Genetic Alliance Australia []

Genetic Alliance Australia, formerly Association of Genetic Support of Australasia (AGSA), facilitates support for those affected directly or indirectly by genetic conditions throughout Australasia.

Phone: 02 9211 1462

Healthdirect Australia []

Healthdirect Australia is a Commonwealth Government of Australia initiative. It aims to improve the health of Australians by providing easy access to quality information about human health.

Impotence Australia []

Impotence Australia is an independent not-for-profit consumer organisation that provides support for men suffering from erectile dysfunction, and their partners.

Phone: 1800 800 614

Knowmore []

Knowmore is an independent service giving free legal advice to people who are considering telling their story or providing information to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Phone: 1800 605 762

Mensline Australia []

Mensline Australia supports men who are dealing with relationship difficulties, particularly surrounding family break-down or separation. The service offers anonymous telephone support, information and referral for men around Australia.

Phone: 1300 789 978

NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service []

NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service (Multicultural Communication), supported by the NSW Department of Health, provides information and services to assist health professionals to communicate with non English speaking communities throughout New South Wales. An extensive range of multilingual resources are available through the website.


PROSTMATE is an online program to support anyone affected by prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia []

Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia is a National organisation that provides information, support and counselling plus links to other prostate cancer sites for those affected by prostate cancer.

Phone: 1800 220 099

Prostate Health []

The South Australian Prostate Cancer Clinical Outcomes Collaborative Prostate Health website provides information and details of support groups for men and their families affected by prostate cancer.

Relationships Australia []

Relationships Australia is an organisation that offers resources to couples, individuals and families to help enhance and support relationships. Offices are located in each state.

Phone: 1300 364 277

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners []

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is a professional body of GPs which provides support to general practice to improve the health and health care of the Australian community.

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission is investigating how institutions like schools, churches, sports clubs and government organisations have responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse. See also: knowmore []

Spanner in the Works []

A Men’s Health initiative by the Australian Men’s Shed Association.

Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand []

Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand is a professional society made up of urological surgeons from Australia and New Zealand. Web site also includes consumer information.