September 10, 2020

Men aren’t the best patients. More accurately, men often are simply not “patients.” Compared to women, men avoid going to the doctor more and engage in riskier behavior. Historically men have thought going to the doctor was not “macho,” preventative medicine was unnecessary, and the only thing that would get them in a physician’s office was a broken bone or near death experience. This masculine pride has not played out well, however. In fact, men are dying on average 5 years younger than women and are leading in nine out of the top ten causes of death with 80% of those preventable! Not only do men die younger, but men also have more years of poor health such as dementia, limited mobility and chronic pain. 

Often people say you can’t get a guy interested in health unless his penis depends on it. Well guys, what if your penis does depend on it? What if lack of medical care resulted in erectile dysfunction? Disease in the tiny penile arteries is just the beginning of what is likely more widespread disease in other vessels. THIS is where it happens first guys! Penile blood vessel health is essential for erectile function and research has shown that erectile disease is a five year predictor of cardiovascular disease. With over 100 million men worldwide suffering from erectile dysfunction and a prevalence of 39% in those aged 40 years, it is a real problem. Furthermore, plaque buildup can accumulate in larger blood vessels resulting in heart attacks, strokes and peripheral vascular disease. 

In addition, low testosterone is a common problem in men. While levels naturally start declining in men in their 30s, there are causes that accelerate this decline. These include obesity, stress, chronic illness, specific medications and diet. Why should men care about decreased levels? Low-T causes unwanted symptoms such as reduced sex drive (!), hair loss, decreased erectile function, fatigue, loss of lean muscle mass with increased body fat and mood changes such as depression, anxiety and irritability. Many of the causes of increased testosterone decline can be controlled or modified with lifestyle changes.  

Change is occurring, however, and men are slowly realizing the importance of seeking care sooner. This is important because early detection of specific risk factors can be identified and chronic disease can be avoided or reversed. Do you know your cardiovascular risk? Do you know what is brewing in your blood vessels? Do you have a family history of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, or Alzheimer’s? Are you curious about your testosterone level? Maybe now is the time to make an appointment with a physician, make some dietary changes and hop on the treadmill. 

Evaluations for men at Spruce MD differ from those of women. We practice personalized medicine around here and men get a different work up than their female counterparts. Additionally, each individual patient benefits from a very precise and specific personal health plan that is formulated in collaboration with the patient. Plus, it’s pretty laid back at Spruce MD. Coffee, smiles and comfortable seating are in abundance. Don’t become the face of the Viagra commercials. Come see us today.

Mary Brittain Blankenship, MD, FAIHM

Dr. Blankenship

Mary Brittain Blankenship, is the founder and physician at Spruce MD Integrative Medicine. Board certified in both Internal Medicine and Integrative Medicine, she sees patients locally at her practice in Greenville, SC and virtually nationwide.

Registered Dietician

Integrative and Functional Medicine Providers