Gynecomastia: Man boobs linked to higher risk of death
Gynecomastia: Man boobs linked to higher risk of deathMed Esthetiks[/caption]

Recent research has unveiled a startling revelation: men with gynecomastia, a condition characterised by enlarged breast tissue not due to weight gain, face a significantly higher risk of early death. This study, published in the BMJ, offers crucial insights into the health implications of gynecomastia, affecting a large percentage of men at different stages of their lives.

Understanding gynecomastia

Gynecomastia is the medical term for the benign enlargement of male breast tissue, caused by an imbalance in sex hormones. Unlike “man boobs” or pseudo gynecomastia, which result from excess fat, gynecomastia involves glandular tissue growth. This condition is most common during three life stages: infancy, puberty, and older age. During these times, fluctuations in hormone levels can lead to the development of gynecomastia.

Study highlights

The Danish study analysed data from 23,429 men diagnosed with gynecomastia between 1995 and 2021, comparing them to a control group of 117,145 men without the condition. The findings were concerning: men with gynecomastia had a 37% higher risk of early death compared to those without the condition.

Gynecomastia: Man boobs linked to higher risk of death | News by Thaiger
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Risk factors and associated diseases

The study divided the men with gynecomastia into two groups: those with idiopathic gynecomastia (of unknown cause) and those with known risk factors or pre-existing conditions. The results showed that men with pre-existing conditions had a 75% higher risk of death, while those with idiopathic gynecomastia had a slightly elevated risk of 5%.

Significant health risks were identified among men with gynecomastia, especially those with pre-existing conditions. These included:

  • Cancer: A 74% increased risk
  • Circulatory diseases: 61% increased risk
  • Lung diseases: Doubling of the risk
  • Digestive diseases: Fivefold increase in risk

Interestingly, neurological diseases were associated with a 29% lower risk of death among men with gynecomastia.

gynecomastia
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Why this matters

Gynecomastia itself is often considered a mild condition, but this study highlights its potential as a marker for more serious health issues. The link between gynecomastia and higher mortality rates suggests that underlying health problems, such as endocrine disorders or the side effects of medications, may be significant contributors.

Managing gynecomastia

If you or someone you know is affected by gynecomastia, it’s essential to understand the various treatment options available. Here are some common approaches:

  • Addressing underlying health issues: Treating conditions like hormone imbalances, liver disease, or kidney problems can help manage gynecomastia.
  • Medications: Drugs used to treat breast cancer, such as tamoxifen, can reduce symptoms.
  • Testosterone therapy: For older men with low testosterone levels, hormone replacement therapy may be beneficial.
  • Lifestyle changes: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and reducing intake of processed foods can help. Avoiding substances that may affect hormone levels, such as certain drugs and alcohol, is also recommended.
  • Surgery: In cases where other treatments are ineffective, surgical options like liposuction or mastectomy can remove excess breast tissue.

When to see a doctor

Men who notice changes in their breast tissue, such as swelling, tenderness, or unusual nipple discharge, should consult a doctor. Early detection of underlying conditions can lead to more effective treatments and better health outcomes.

Gynecomastia, while often dismissed as a cosmetic issue, can be a signal of serious health concerns. The recent study underscores the importance of medical evaluation and management for men with this condition. By understanding the risks and seeking appropriate treatment, men can improve their overall health and reduce the likelihood of early death.

If you experience symptoms of gynecomastia, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice. Addressing the condition early can help uncover and treat any underlying health issues, potentially saving lives. Contact MyMediTravel if you need to get treated for gynecomastia.

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Author: Dr. Nikhil Prasad