When men turn 50, it is considered a significant milestone birthday. At this age, some may feel their age, while others may not. Whether you have teenage children at home or are now an empty-nester, it is crucial to prioritize your health and well-being. Ignoring self-care could result in an unexpected diagnosis that could significantly affect your quality of life. Therefore, taking care of yourself and paying extra attention to your well-being is essential.
5 Health changes that are a ‘wake-up’ call for men after 50
Men expect to experience changes such as thinning hair, wrinkles, high blood pressure, and weight gain as they age. However, some bodily changes once thought to occur later in life can begin to surface as early as their fifth decade.
Let’s take a look at five bodily changes that men may not expect turning 50:
1. Sexual performance may suffer
For a long time, erectile dysfunction (ED) was a “hush-hush” subject among men. Rarely talked about, today, ED commercials are common on TV and supplements claiming to cure the condition are abundantly found in stores selling these products.
Men may notice that their erections take longer to achieve and are less firm than before. ED is diagnosed in about 26 percent of men in their 50s. Unfortunately, ED is likely to get worse with age.
How to fix: The first line of ED defense is highly effective prescription medications such as Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, and Stendra.
Since ED is often a vascular problem, for men who wish to use a more natural approach, healthy habits like exercising daily and choosing healthy foods play a role by normalizing blood pressure, reducing diabetes, and lowering cholesterol.
2. Shrinkage of muscle mass
By the time a man has his 50th birthday, they can expect to lose about 1 to 2 percent of their muscle mass yearly unless they make certain lifestyle changes. Part of muscle mass decline can be blamed on cellular changes in muscle fibers, but research has also found that men with low testosterone are prone to muscle mass loss.
Maintaining muscle mass is critical and should never be considered vain. Cumulative muscle loss with age will have serious health ramifications, such as reduction in doing daily tasks and, eventually, a loss of independence.
How to fix: The good news is that men (and women) can take charge to limit muscle mass with age. Everyone must do two main keys to protect muscle mass: Strength or resistance training and eating enough protein throughout the day. Pumping iron several times a week beginning now can help maintain muscle mass. Eating between 25 to 30 grams of protein at each meal will also add another important layer of building and maintaining muscle mass for as long as possible.
3. Increased hearing loss
Loss of hearing is more associated with people over the age of 70. Yet, up to one-third of men over 40 will have some hearing loss which will only get worse with age.
Hearing loss begins with overexposure to noise pollution. This exposure and changes in the middle ear related to age, should not be ignored by men as hearing loss can having significant impacts on quality of life.
How to fix: All men (and women) should have a hearing test after age 50. If hearing loss is found, correcting hearing loss with hearing aids lowers the risk of cognitive decline, falls, depression, and isolation.
Many men may object to wearing a hearing aid but most are far less noticeable than in the past. Wearing a hearing aid, when needed, can substantially change a man’s life.
4. Funny –looking skin changes
Besides the expected age spots and wrinkles, some men may find other strange fleshy skin growths called skin tags on their eyelids, neck, underarms, or other areas prone to skin rubbing against skin.
Up to two-thirds of adults over 60 have skin tags known as acrochordons. People more likely to develop skin tags tend to have obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or a family history.
How to fix: It is strongly advised to have skin tags examined by a dermatologist to rule out skin cancer. Skin tags can be easily removed with laser or liquid nitrogen.
5. Noticeable urinary changes
Changes in a man’s urinary habits usually begin sometime after age 50. Difficulty starting a stream, stopping a stream, having a weaker stream, or having nocturia or frequent nighttime urination will affect about half of men past 50.
One of the reasons for urinary changes stems from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) which is an enlarged prostate. As men age, the prostate gland often grows in size and begins to press on the urethra and can weaken the bladder wall.
How to fix: There are several lifestyle habits men can use to gain control of urinary issues. These include reducing caffeine and alcohol intake, practicing Kegel exercises to strengthen muscles of a man’s pelvic floor, and then avoid drinking fluids at least 3 hours before bedtime can help reduce annoying urinary symptoms.
For BPH, some medications help relax muscles around the prostate to encourage urine flow or help shrink the prostate’s size. For BPH, there are minimally invasive office procedures using ultrasound or lasers and for more difficult to treat BPH, surgery can remove prostate tissue reducing prostate size.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.