One of the biggest threats to men’s health has always been the problem of getting them to take care of it. “It is difficult to say the exact cause, but men do not do much for prevention,” the doctor explains. Frank Lipman, MD In almost 40 years of practicing functional medicine, he has found that men tend to “not be interested in subtle changes in their bodies, and they traditionally wait until they have a heart attack or something serious,” Lipman says. And while he can’t point to a single overarching reason why this is happening, it has always been that way. “It’s a masculine way of looking at things: it’s not a problem until it becomes a big problem.”

That doesn’t mean there haven’t been attempts to get men to take a more proactive approach to their health and well-being. But a lot of it was aimed at optimizing their performance. That’s why erectile dysfunction and low testosterone have been a major part of these efforts, because they affect men’s ability to perform in bed, at work, and in the field. As a result, it is these problems that can lead men to see a doctor and be screened for more serious risks, such as heart disease and diabetes.

But now, thanks to a combination of telemedicine, wearables, and the popularization of biohacking, doctors like Lipman have been able to turn that competitive advantage into a more holistic approach to healthcare. “A lot of guys are learning that they can do a lot of health tests at home, use wearables, and do things to perform better,” Lipman says. Being able to track things like their sleep, exercise, and the amount of alcohol they’ve cut down, and connect with other guys as they compete for that progress, may be what gets them to pay more attention to their mind and body.

“Men tend to be more competitive, so if that can be turned in a positive direction, they will pay more attention,” Lipman says. “Being able to measure these things at home and compare them to their friends is a good thing.”

Although the overall result remains to be seen, Lipman sat down with Paternal to discuss his optimism about the future of male health and how we can improve it through gamification.

How do you think men’s interest in their health has changed over the course of your career? What has changed now, and what remains the same?

Traditionally, men were brought to the doctor by their spouses or other relatives. But there’s been a shift, and now men seem to be paying more attention to athletes and other male role models, tweeting and social media talking about how when they started doing ice jumping, they got better at performing. Many of them are athletes because there is much more information about health for them. All this made men more conscious. Instead of being forced by their spouses to take care of their health, there are successful role models.

With so many men getting this information from social media, is there any concern about misinformation?

There will always be some misinformation, but overall I think it’s much more positive. Much more good from this. And if it brings them to the doctor, they can get more tests done and their health can be monitored a little better.

What conditions worry the guys who come to your office?

They have become more aware of heart disease, which is usually easily detected by biomarkers. I think men tend to be more concerned with productivity and related issues such as Alzheimer’s and other cognitive issues. They worry that they won’t have the energy to play basketball with their friends. They worry that they won’t be able to perform as well as the young people at work.

It seems that men are not interested in worrying about diseases such as cancer that may develop. Is it fair to say that when you’re trying to get men to worry about prophylactic treatment in the future, it might not work?

Yes, you have to present it in a way that will get them to make changes. You cannot say, “If you don’t, you will have heart disease.” Or, “If you don’t, you’ll put on weight.” It’s more like, “If you don’t, you won’t have the energy to do what you want to do.

Heart disease or health problems will also affect your penis because ED is not isolated from that particular organ. Usually when someone has ED, it’s a systemic disease – vascular disease throughout the body. This is a generalization, but you have to scare men in such a way that they change their view of things.

You mentioned biomarkers. For those new to telemedicine, wearable technology, and biohacking, what biomarkers should you look out for? Or what things did they have to test?

Many blood tests that doctors do are not particularly helpful. Guys should ask for an advanced lipid panel that looks at the particle size of cholesterol molecules and measures markers of inflammation. This is a much more extensive test that gives us much more information about heart disease and inflammation than conventional tests.

They should have their uric acid checked. They must have their nutrient levels checked, which is not usually checked. For example, they should check their omega-3 levels. They should check the magnesium content of their red blood cells. They should check their B-12s.

And then the hormones; men should check not only testosterone and free testosterone, but also estrogens. Too much estrogen can be a problem for both men and women.

What are the limits of biohacking?

The most important things that are ignored are the movement of your body, the way you sleep, meditation or stress reduction, spending time in nature, having some kind of purpose in life, having some kind of connection or connection to family or community. For me, these are the main biohacks of the body.

Secondary hacks are when you want to go to the next level. So guys who are biohacking blood glucose and sleep and taking all these crazy supplements are fine and I don’t think they are dangerous. But for me, these are minor hacks. If you’re thinking about biohacking, you can’t ignore basic biohacks.

Sleep seems to be an important thing that men can track for the sake of their mental and physical health.

Poor sleep puts you at risk for nearly every chronic disease, from Alzheimer’s disease to heart disease, diabetes and obesity. So, poor sleep is the first thing you need to work on because men don’t take sleep seriously enough. Sleep is when your body repairs and regenerates. This is when your brain clears out all the toxins. Sleep is critical to health.

Alcohol seems similar in the sense that it puts men at risk for a host of problems, but it can also be easily controlled and tracked through apps. Does it work the same?

Yes, too many people drink too much alcohol, which not only affects sleep but can affect many other parts of the body and predispose you to many problems. Three to four drinks a week is not a problem, but most men drink three to four drinks a night for three to four nights a week and it becomes a problem. It puts a strain on most organ systems and is probably one of the main risk factors for many of the diseases that men face.

Sleep and alcohol also seem to have a big impact on men’s mental health, which is said to be in crisis. Do you believe that men face a mental health crisis, and has it always been that way?

I’m not sure men’s mental health issues are anything new. I think it’s more of a problem now because there’s more stress in people’s lives, be it financial or otherwise. And men begin to fight it, not suppress it. Young men are much more aware of their mental health and are in therapy, again because they had more role models. People like Michael Phelps change the world for the better and help.

I think young men are more aware of their mental and emotional health and it’s great that this has changed. But also the pressure on everyone, including men, is greater than it was 20 years ago.

And how can the attention to physical health we discussed help with mental health?

For me, mental and physical health is one thing. Men who pay more attention to their physical health will definitely help their mental health. I think teletherapy has made it more comfortable for men to go to therapy from home and it has also helped a lot with that.

Given all the risks of avoidance, as well as the mental and physical health risks we talked about, do you think being a man should be considered a pre-existing condition or a medical diagnosis?

I don’t see it that way. We all have different predispositions. Thanks to genetic testing, we can now tell who is more genetically predisposed to heart disease, diabetes, or something else. Certain diseases may be more common in men, but to be honest, I don’t think being a man is a health risk. I think it’s all about how health information is presented and I think it’s presented to men in a more accessible way now.

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