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7 medical signs, symptoms men shouldn't ignore

June 17, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Father's Day is just around the corner and the perfect time to remind men about the importance of taking care of their health. But many men tend to avoid going to the doctor, which can lead to health issues getting worse. Here's some important medical information every man needs to know.

Men are notorious about putting off doctor visits. Many think they're invincible or can't be bothered.

For this Father's Day, one local doctor offers the seven signs and symptoms that shouldn't be ignored.

When it comes to doctor visits, 57-year-old Dave Emter of Burbank is just like many other men.

"Some of the exams, especially the prostate exam, and the colonoscopy after you're 50, are maybe a little intimidating for a male," said Emter.

Internist Dr. Imad El Asmar, from the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, says women outnumber men two to one in his practice. It's a concern because there are signs men should not ignore.

"To me, pain in the abdomen is the most serious thing I could face in practice," said El Asmar.

A dull persistent ache could be a kidney stone or a tumor.

Getting winded after physical exertion that worsens each time could signal an impending heart attack.

And persistent forgetfulness may warrant a doctor's attention.

"This is a warning sign for a stroke that can happen in the near future," said El Asmar.

Erectile dysfunction is a condition itself, but many men may not realize it could be a sign of something worse.

The latest studies find men in their 40s and 50s with E.D. could be two or five years away from a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack.

"Try to find out if there is any secondary reason for erectile dysfunction before starting to prescribe medications," said El Asmar.

Blood in the stools or urine can be anything from hemorrhoids to cancer, but El Asmar says it always good to get it checked out.

Chronic daytime fatigue is often a strong sign of sleep apnea and frequent urination may be signs of type-2 diabetes or an enlarged prostate.

And skin cancer is on the rise. A new spot, mole, freckle or persistent red spot on the skin should be examined.

"I'm fair-skinned and I've had some spots on me and I went to a dermatologist," said Emter.

A few other signs men may ignore include yellowish skin which could be a sign of liver problems.

And incessant grumpiness which could be more than just a sign of stress: Consistent crankiness is also symptom of depression.

Getting checked out is the best Father's Day present a man can give himself and his family.

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