We didn’t mean to bring you down previously, but we did start something important yesterday when we kicked off this two part guy’s health and fitness examination of injuries (work or play) that could prove more life threatening that you realize.
In the conclusion, we’ll start in the middle and work our way down through the parts of the body you know you spend most of your time worrying about (if you’re honest).
The ribcage does double duty for every man — protecting both the heart and lungs. But, once cracked or broken by the fall off that bike or from that ladder, those sturdy curved bones can become sharp-edged, lethal weapons tucked away inside the body.
Fortunately, it’s easy to detect a potentially broken rib as the pain is immediate and constant. You can’t take a step or a breath without pain with a damaged rib cage. If that pain is present, it’s important to get to care immediately in case the internal organs the cage is supposed to protect are threatened by a sharpened rib.
Rating the potential lethal impact of stomach injuries all depends on how you define an injury. Is constant stress an injury, or should the slow, life threatening damage done by internal bleeding from a peptic ulcer be categorized as a poor life choice? Regardless, left unchecked, the words “severe,” “internal” and “bleeding” never end well.
The self-inflicted injury of too much booze or fatty foods can cause gallstones. A gallbladder that’s not working right because it’s got rocks in it brings the potential life threatening defects of Bile Cholestasis or Peritonitis. A stomach ache that doesn’t go away for more than a day should point to an emergency room.
While a man might ignore any number of complaints, he’ll rarely take risks with his tackle. Both Hafer and King says any injury below the belt brings men into an MD’s office ads if they were fired from a Barrett .50 Cal.
No man can mistake a kick to the balls as an injury, but any blow to the genitals (not invited following a private dance at Cheetah’s) can lead to testicular torsion. It sounds terrible because it is.
“Testicular torsion is a medical emergency in which the testicles twist, cutting off blood flow. An hour or two can make all the difference between losing one or both.”
Of course, losing a testicle isn’t life threatening, but it could kill a little bit of the man in you spiritually.
Remember the Carotid Artery in your neck? The blood vessel that’s one slash or puncture away from spraying your blood from here to your mom’s house? It has a cousin in your thighs called the Femoral Artery. It provides a large amount of fresh, oxygenated blood to the legs. Like its relative in the throat, major damage to the Femoral will also send you to the urn faster than the EMTs can get to you.
It’s too bad there’s no way for the neck and thigh to sing some sort of mutual defense treaty, but the two get together outside copies of Mankoff’s Lusty Europe.
And the Rest
Severe injuries to other parts of the body — the legs, arms, back, etc. — can result in damage to the circulatory system in the form of a severe bruise of blood clot.
“Clots and severe bruises feel like a hard, tender region on the body that might not concern you at first,” Hafer says. “A deep vein thrombosis can cause a severe circulatory problem that can kill you. Blood clots and blockages have to be broken up quickly.”
King pointed to a more abstract, though equally life threatening condition emerging from injuries to the joints — such as ligament tears, shoulder separations, hip dislocations and such.
“Joint pain won’t kill you, but it might make you less active and set you up for a heart attack in three to five years,” King says. “So, I urge my patients to treat joint pain just as seriously as they would a sudden injury.”