Aging is the process of acquiring physical and mental characteristics of old age. It is a normal physiologic process that all living organisms go through. The World Health Organization estimates about 11% of the world’s population to be above the age of 60 years with this figure being doubled by 2025. This is due to the fact that people are living longer and fewer children and being born. Old age is a known risk factor for many diseases. With aging comes the progressive deterioration of the human body’s organ system affecting normal function. Subtle irreversible organ dysfunction has been shown to occur from the third to fourth decade of life and this progressively deteriorates with aging.
As men age, they need to pay more attention to their health even more than most women because they are not only susceptible to many disease conditions associated with aging in general, but some might have been exposed to risky health behaviours (like smoking, putting off regular health checkups, excessive alcohol consumption, etc) and are in danger of some gender specific age related diseases specific to men.
Andropause, often referred to as male menopause, is a condition associated with a decrease in the male hormone testosterone. Testosterone is responsible for the deep voice, muscle mass, hair distribution pattern and the normal sexual drive and stamina in males. As men grow older, the level of testosterone in the body and the production of sperm gradually decline resulting in the production of physical and psychological symptoms experienced. It is estimated that testosterone levels decrease by about 10% every decade as from the age of 30 years old. Common symptoms of men going through andropause include low sex drive, mood swings, hot flushes, erectile dysfunctions, reduced body mass with increased body fat. Complications like osteoporosis (brittle bones) and development of cardiovascular problems can result if andropause is not managed properly.
As men go through their 40’s, quality of life is an important issue. Sexual health and the prostate gland contribute significantly to this. An enlarged prostate, which is part of the aging process, may present with difficulties in urination.
Urologists are experts whose services are very crucial in the man as he ages. They can help guide you on what to expect, the needed lifestyle and changes and including when and how to treat these male specific disease conditions.
Most men in their mid forties have completed their family size; an urologist can assist with vasectomy in men who are interested. This is a simple outpatient contraceptive measure procedure that greatly enhances the sex life of the man and his partner without any further need of contraception.
The need for routine medical checkups in men cannot be overemphasized especially as he ages. Silent killers like diabetes and hypertension can be picked early if present and managed appropriately.
Soneye O.Y. , Olapade-Olaopa E.O.