Do You Know the Top Five Health Threats to Men?

November is Men’s Health Month and knowing the top health issues for the man in your life could save his life. Physicians affiliated with Memorial Hermann Health System are highlighting some of the most common diseases they see affecting their male patients. Learn about these illnesses and how they can be prevented. Click on the links below to read more about each health issue.

Heart Disease
Lung Cancer
Prostate Cancer
Back Pain

Heart Disease

More men die from heart disease than any other disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Top risk factors are smoking, diabetes, a diet high in fatty foods, obesity or being overweight, and an inactive lifestyle. “It’s important to practice healthy heart habits to reduce your risk of developing heart disease,” said David Portugal, M.D., interventional cardiologist with Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital.

Various screenings and diagnostic services are available for those experiencing abnormalities. The sooner you seek a physician’s guidance, the sooner they will be able to provide proper treatment. “It’s also important to talk to your physician about your heart. Possible symptoms of a heart condition could include feelings of chest heaviness, chest pressure or chest burning, shortness of breath, palpitations or irregular heartbeats,” added Dr. Portugal.

To schedule an appointment with a cardiologist, click here.

Lung Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men. The good news is with proper screening and treatment, a lung cancer diagnosis doesn’t have to be a death sentence.

“Our lung cancer screening, a low radiation dose computed tomography (CT) scan of your lungs, is quick, easy and reliable. This technique has shown to significantly improve the detection of lung cancer at an early stage where cure is still possible by removing the cancer with surgery,” says  Pushan Jani MD, pulmonologist, Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. “If you’re between the ages of 55-77 and currently or in the past have smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or if you’re a current smoker or one who has quit within the last 15 years and have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer, I would recommend you be screened.”

Find a pulmonologist near you.

Prostate Cancer

One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. However, there are a variety of treatment options for the disease. Urologists say the key to diagnosing and treating prostate cancer is to have a good relationship with your physician.

“We usually recommend prostate cancer screenings begin between ages 40 and 50. It is important to have several years of testing results to look for abnormalities,” says Adam Hollander, M.D., a urologist affiliated with Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital. “We’re also building a relationship with a patient so that if they were to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, we are already familiar with their personal values and health priorities, and can recommend a treatment plan with those things in mind.”

Find a urologist near you.


While depression affects both men and women, the symptoms experienced may vary across genders. Men are reported to experience a number of symptoms, including: loss of interest in activities they once found pleasurable, physical aches/pains and feeling tired. Men struggling with depression may experience thoughts of suicide and should seek immediate help of a professional.

“It’s important for individuals who notice changes in their mood…their ability to live, laugh, love, an increase in fatigue…those symptoms should be investigated and reaching out to your provider is important,” says Theresa Fawvor, Associate Vice President, Behavioral Health Services at Memorial Hermann Health System. “However, if you need to be connected to a mental health provider and don’t know where to go, access points offered through Memorial Hermann are the Mental Health Crisis Clinics.”

Find out more about behavioral health treatment or to find a local outpatient mental health crisis clinic.

Back Pain

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, lower back pain is the most common type of pain reported by Americans, and the leading cause of disability for people under the age of 45.

According to Nadya Dhanani, M.D., a pain management specialist with the Mischer Neuroscience Institute at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, the most common ways to manage back pain include medication, physical therapy and more invasive therapies such as steroid injections or surgery.

“Prevention of back pain usually involves keeping your body healthy by focusing on a healthy body weight, eating well and insuring adequate sleep,” said Dr. Dhanani. “Specific exercises for your back including activities to maintain core body strength and stretching back muscles are very important. Posture can also play a big role in your spine health. Sitting for long periods of time can be extremely detrimental to the spine.”

Find out more about back pain or find a pain management specialist near you.

Keeping healthy from head to toe begins by building a relationship with a Primary Care Physician who specializes in you.  Find a physician here.


  1. Thanks for the tip that sleeping well will help a lot in mitigating back pain. My husband has been having problems with his back lately and it makes him feel quite a lot of pain when doing chores and other physical activities. Perhaps we should visit a clinic that focuses on men’s health soon to see if this is a symptom of something more serious.

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Tashika Varma