Posted on Dec 28, 2015 by Rob McBroom
If you are currently healthy it can be somewhat unnerving to talk about health issues you face as a man, but this is an important topic, especially in China. Health care is becoming an increasingly popular trend in China, from the recent announcements related to important changes about to be made to the health insurance sector - which we will cover in a later article - to increasing reports that China's health issues are starting to mirror those of developed nations, the country is starting to see its healthcare evolve.
This makes it an ideal time to talk about the top health issues facing men in China, and what all men need to know about them. To that end, here is our overview of the top four men's health issues in China.
1. Malignant Neoplasms
Neoplasms are any abnormal growth in tissue, and are commonly referred to as tumors. Doctors generally break neoplasms into two major categories: Benign and Malignant, with the malignant neoplasms often being referred to as cancer.
According to a report on the major causes of death in China by the New England Journal of Medicine, cancer makes up 25% of total deaths among men in China. The report identified five leading causes of death from cancer as, "malignant neoplasms of the lung (mortality, 71.5 per 100,000 person-years), liver (54.7), stomach (48.6), esophagus (31.3), and colon and rectum (17.4)."
While it is clear that lung cancer is by-far the most prevalent form of cancer, there is another type that men in China need to be aware of: Prostate cancer. Worldwide, this type of cancer is the second most common type of cancer among men. Xinhua has even reported that, "Data from the Chinese Anti-cancer Association show the [prostate] cancer's incidence in China increased more than tenfold in the past two decades."
Prostate cancer, while on the rise in China, is largely preventable. According to the Prostate Cancer Fund there are four main factors that influence your risk of developing prostate cancer:
Age - Generally affects older men, with the average age of cases in the US being 69.
Race - Believe it or not, the data behind prostate cancer cases has found that men of African descent tend to have the highest chances of developing prostate cancer, while men from South East Asia have the lowest.
Family history - If your brother or father has had prostate cancer you are up to two times more likely to develop it too.
Where you live - Men who live in more northern climates have higher chances of developing prostate cancer.
What is most interesting is that according to the Prostate Cancer Fund, "When Chinese men move to the western culture [e.g, move to the US, UK, Canada, etc.], their risk increases substantially." The Fund also notes that a major risk factor of developing prostate cancer is a poor diet and lack of exercise. The fact of the matter is, as the diet of many in China changes to mirror that found in Western countries, you are going to see an increase in the risk of developing prostate cancer.
In order to catch this, doctors recommend eating a healthier diet, getting exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and, most of all, getting an annual checkup after the age of 40 to test for not only this type of cancer, but others as well.
2. Cardiovascular diseases
The various forms of cardiovascular disease, more commonly referred to as heart disease, account for around 22% of total deaths among men (according to the New England Journal of Medicine) among men in China. The Journal lists the four most common forms of heart disease in China as being: chronic pulmonary heart disease, coronary heart disease, heart failure, and rheumatic heart disease.
According to the WHO, heart disease is set to become an even larger problem in China in the coming years, "Projected annual cardiovascular events are predicted to increase by 50% between 2010 and 2030 based on population aging and growth alone in China. Projected trends in blood pressure, total cholesterol, diabetes (increases), and active smoking (decline) would increase annual cardiovascular disease events by an additional 23%, an increase of approximately 21.3 million cardiovascular events and 7.7 million cardiovascular deaths."
While doctors and scientists around the world are working to reduce the impact of heart disease, many cases are actually preventable now. As with most other forms of disease, doctors recommend that in order to reduce the your chances of developing heart disease you:
Eat a healthy diet
Lose weight, or maintain a healthy body weight
Decrease your blood pressure
Stop smoking and drinking alcohol.
3. Cerebrovascular disease
Cerebrovascular disease is any condition that disrupts oxygen and blood flow to the brain, and is often referred to by doctors as a stroke. In China, 21.6% of deaths among men can be attributed to this disease.
As with heart disease, smoking, high cholesterol, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity are risk factors for stroke. Luckily, many of these factors can be easily controlled, which means it is important to take steps to prevent this disease from developing. Doctors will often suggest eating a better diet, getting exercise, and reaching/maintaining a healthy weight as good preventative measures.
Because strokes are more prevalent in men than women, it would also be beneficial to know the main signs of a stroke:
Loss of balance, coordination or the ability to walk
Loss of vision
Numbness or weakness in the face or appendages, or on one side of the body
Confusion, memory loss or disorientation
Dizziness, nausea or vomiting
If any of these symptoms are felt, seek help and medical attention immediately.
4. Mental health
Mental health issues and stress in China, is among the top causes of death in China. With stress levels on the rise according to the SCMP - it was reported that, "Mainland China saw the biggest number of stressed workers with 75 per cent of the 355 respondents polled reporting a rise in stress levels from 18 months ago – 25 per cent higher than the global average." - stress has once again become something we should all be aware of.
Stress and mental health issues can really affect our overall health and should be treated with equal weight as physical ailments.
Don't forget about your insurance
For many of these diseases you will need to seek medical attention. In China, the highest quality of care can be found at the international hospitals which, unfortunately, are likely to have much higher costs than their public counterparts. As such, it is important to make sure you have a robust health insurance plan. Many of the plans Pacific Prime China can offer have worldwide coverage, which means you can also go to other countries to receive care. Beyond that, many of these plans also cover mental health care as well, which means they truly support a full-health solution.
To learn more, contact us today for a free quote.