Health & Wellness

19 Mar 2021 admin

Do Men Die Earlier Than Women?

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Why Do Men Die Earlier Than Women?

If there is one thing many people assume, it is that men are expected to die earlier than women of the same age. This assumption is not unfounded as historically, women tend to live longer than their male counterparts. According to a 2018 publication by Statistics Canada, the life expectancy is 79.8 years for men and 83.9 years for women. This statistic is not limited to only Canada, as global research showed similar results. Different factors may be responsible for why men tend to die earlier than women, some of which we will discuss below.

Medical Conditions:

Heart disease is responsible for a large number of deaths, especially in men. Men are also 50% more likely to die from heart disease than women. Some experts suggest that the low estrogen levels in men than women may be responsible for men’s high death rate. However, other factors such as poor health management and fewer checkups may also play a role.

Higher Suicide Rate

Although women are more likely than men to be depressed, men are more likely to commit suicide from mental illnesses. In fact, men are three times more likely than women to die by suicide. A reason for this may be tied to the fact that men don’t receive mental health treatment as frequently as women do. This may also be due to the stigma that surrounds men who receive mental health treatment.

Job Hazards

Most men tend to take on more risky and hazardous occupational roles compared to women. Some of these occupations may include working in the military, working at construction sites, maintenance and repair jobs, and firefighting. These jobs are associated with higher risks of loss of life on duty. Because men dominate these jobs, they are 10 times more likely than women to be killed due to occupational hazards.

Risky Behaviours

History has shown that men tend to be more involved in risky activities than women either as a form of sport or in making decisions. As a result, men are more likely to die due to violence, accidents caused by drunk and reckless driving. Men’s tendency to engage in risky behaviors may be associated with the fact that the frontal lobe of the brain of boys and young men develops slower than in women. The frontal lobe is responsible for making good judgments and weighing consequences, both of which are absent during violent activities.

Infrequent Doctor Visits

From research, men are less likely than women to visit their doctors. They are also more likely to skip recommended health screenings than women. Because of this, many health conditions and diseases go untreated and unmanaged. In a study, 72% of men confessed they would rather do house chores like cleaning the bathroom, than visit a doctor. 37% admitted to withholding information from their doctors with 20% saying they are not always honest with their doctors about their symptoms. Men’s reluctance to visit doctors even when they are aware of medical conditions may be due to many factors, many of which may be tied to societal expectations from men. Some of the reasons why men rarely visit doctors are:                                                                                                        They believe they don’t need to see a doctor: Many men think they can handle their problems, including health-related ones, on their own. Many believe their condition would improve on its own, seeing no need to visit a doctor. The bad news is that many of these conditions don’t just “disappear” and may instead eventually worsen over time if left untreated.                                                                They are afraid of the diagnosis: A major reason men also don’t visit their doctors or hide important information is that they are afraid of the diagnosis. They are worried over how much their lives may change as a result of the diagnosis.                                                  They see it as a weakness: Many men have been conditioned by society to be “strong” and feel as though they need to “man up” at all times. Visiting a doctor would mean them admitting that they have a problem and require help. Many men are not ready to show this level of vulnerability. They believe seeking help makes them weak and would instead look for other means to solve their problems. This reason is mostly prevalent in sexual-performance-related conditions like erectile dysfunction and performance anxiety.

Helping Men Live Longer

While we may not be able to increase men’s life expectancy overnight, there are things we can do to help men live a little longer. There is currently a lot of stigma surrounding men and mental health issues. We can create a more favorable environment where men can be vulnerable with their mental health struggles. This can also be extended to physical conditions like erectile dysfunction, which men rarely talk about due to the associated stigma surrounding sexual health. By creating such an environment, men may find it a little bit easier to seek medical help when they need it.   Men should also be encouraged to eat healthier and exercise more. It is advisable to eat a diet containing whole grains, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. Moderate exercise such as a 30-minute brisk walk should also be encouraged.   Would you like to have a discreet virtual consultation with a licensed doctor about your symptoms? You can speak with a doctor at Winston at www.askwinston.ca             

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