Two of the biggest influences on a person’s chances of developing health concerns are age and sex. A 20-year-old does not have the same health concerns as someone who just hit 60, and each sex is at risk of different diseases.
Males are more prone than females, to cancers, cardiac problems, and other diseases, especially at a younger age. Understanding how age and sex affect health can help prepare you for medical issues you may face in the future.
Some males are born with an additional copy of the X chromosome (XXY). This condition, Klinefelter syndrome, affects one to two male children per 1,000 live births, making it one of the most common chromosomal disorders. Males born with Klinefelter syndrome have small, poorly functioning testicles, which cause low testosterone levels and infertility.
As children, XXY males often have weaker muscles and lower strength, but adults often look similar to males without the condition.
During puberty, some males experience an enlargement of the veins within the scrotum. These larger veins, called varicoceles, form when blood pools in them instead of efficiently flowing through the body.
While varicoceles can cause some pain or discomfort, most cases are asymptomatic. Varicoceles occur in 15% to 20% of all males.
Though athlete’s foot can affect anyone, this common fungal infection occurs more often in males than females. Studies show that it mostly occurs in older children and young adults, likely due to lifestyle factors like increased sweating or spending more time in locker rooms and communal showers.
Athlete’s foot often begins between the toes and presents as an itchy, scaly rash.
Gout is a very common form of arthritis that can affect anyone. However, it is most typical in males between the ages of 30 and 50. Gout causes sudden pain, as well as swelling, tenderness, and redness in the joints.
The big toe is the most common location for gout, but it also regularly affects the knees, ankles, fingers, wrists, and elbows. As the condition progresses, it can affect joint mobility and other organs, like the kidneys.
Males in their 30s and 40s have a higher risk of several different prostate conditions, including inflammation of the prostate or prostatitis. Experts generally recognize four types of prostatitis, each of which varies in severity and duration. Prostatitis symptoms are often felt while urinating and include:
The condition can also cause pain and discomfort in various areas of the groin or abdomen. If the cause is a bacterial infection, prostatitis can cause fever and other flu-like symptoms.
Another prostate issue, prostate cancer, is most common in males after age 50. Prostate cancers often grow slowly and usually remain confined to the prostate gland. However, some forms are more aggressive and are capable of rapidly spreading to other areas of the body.
Experts still aren't certain what causes prostate cancer, but it has links to obesity and certain genetic factors.
Technically speaking, male-pattern baldness can occur at any age, and the condition is usually inherited. However, this form of baldness peaks and affects around half of males by age 50, making it the most common type of hair loss.
Male-pattern baldness usually starts just above the temples and leaves a rim of hair at the sides and back of the head. Complete baldness due to male-pattern hair loss is rare.
Peyronie’s disease is a condition that occurs when noncancerous scar tissue forms on the penis, causing curved and painful erections. This issue can develop at any age but is most common in males in their 50s and 60s.
A small amount of curvature in younger men is typical and unlikely to be Peyronie’s disease. Males who suspect they may have the condition should visit a medical professional as soon as possible to prevent it from worsening.
Parkinson’s disease is a nervous system disorder that affects movement. The condition often begins as a small tremor in one hand but can progress to affect many body systems. Issues with walking and talking are normal, as are behavioral changes, sleep problems, and fatigue.
Though Parkinson's can affect anyone, males are more likely than females to develop it. This issue is rare in young adults, primarily affecting adults over 60.
One of the most serious types of skin cancer, melanoma, is far more common in older males than females. Melanoma develops from the melanocytes that produce melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. In males, melanomas most regularly occur on the back, though they can appear on any area of skin.
While the cause of melanomas is not clear, ultraviolet radiation from the sun and tanning lamps likely plays a large role. It is worth noting that while the average age of melanoma diagnosis is 63, the condition is becoming more typical in people under 40 and is one of the most common cancers in young adults.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.