Listen, guys. Maybe it’s time to give up on the bravado and consider these sobering statistics:
- Clinically depressed men are three times more likely to have coronary artery disease (CAD).
- Men Suicide
- Homicide and suicide are the top three causes of death for men between the ages of 15 and 34.
- By age 85, women outnumber men by 2.2 to 1 in the United States; by age 90, the ratio rises to 3 to 1.
These are just a few of the realities studied in Why Men Die First: How to Extend Your Life, a new book by Marianne J. Legato, MD, focusing on American men Biological, cultural and personal reasons for living an average of 6 years less than women.
The male mortality rate is partly shorter because males are more vulnerable than females from birth and are inherently more vulnerable, Legato said. Unlike women, who are constantly working to validate and address their specific health needs, men do not demand equal treatment.
“It’s a need that has never been addressed,” Legato said. “Men are vastly overlooked, but they’re not.”
The medical challenges of men are largely due to cultural conditioning. The rules were set shortly after birth, Legato said: hold back the pain, don’t be a coward, don’t show weakness, and “get it together”. Many men seek medical advice only if they are coerced by their spouse or if their condition worsens.
“Women can logically seek help,” long popularized the concept of sex-specific medicine. “They’re so ingrained in the brain and very motivated.”
“The cultural reasons for not going to the doctor are killing people,” she said.
In her book, Legato examines and advocates for an end to men’s (and even the medical profession’s) awareness of the specific health needs that help prevent men from dying insufficient. Men deserve better and should hold to higher standards, she said.
“Don’t tolerate the fact that men die six years earlier than women,” Legato said. “If we can beat breast cancer and AIDS, we can certainly save our men.”
Legato highlights the following major causes of death in men that men can play an important role in health disparities and increased health Life expectancy for men:
1.Talking openly with the doctor: leaving an embarrassment in the waiting room. Women are taught at an early age to be honest with doctors. Talking about symptoms that are uncomfortable — like erectile dysfunction — can be linked to more serious conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Men should also request breast examinations despite cultural traditions.
“It’s a body part that should be checked,” Legato said.
She encourages men to perform testicular self-exams in the same way women are taught to check their breasts for abnormalities. While men may cringe when they get a prostate exam, they are nowhere near as painful as going through cancer treatment.
2. Check testosterone levels: From age 30, testosterone begins to drop by 1% per year, Legato says. Decreased testosterone levels can lead to decreased vitality, muscle mass, long-term exercise capacity, memory, concentration, and libido. Not only does this impair quality of life, but it can also lead to depression, which can have a major impact on men’s health, potentially increasing the risk of coronary heart disease. There are several treatments available (including gels, patches, and injections) that can help restore this important hormone to proper levels.
Normal loss of testosterone has little to do with vitality or sexual performance, says endocrinologist Robert Ruxin, MD, of Ridgefield, Connecticut. But in some cases, drastic loss (more likely between the ages of 60 and 80) can affect quality of life.
“When it goes down normally, probably not, but very low, yes,” Ruxin said. “A drop from 800 to 500 has not been shown to have a clinical effect. Maybe going from 800 to 400 might be too low.”
For example in diabetics, who may have larger testicles Hormone loss risk. Instead, pituitary hormones, he said, can balance the effects of differences in individuals who lose testosterone at typical rates.
“There is a big variation in normal.”
3.Immune System: Men’s immune systems are not as strong as women’s. Men die at higher rates from seven of the 10 most common infections, Legato said, especially tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases. Hygienic sexual behavior is essential, starting with the use of condoms. Men traveling abroad should check with their doctor about the latest vaccinations. The tetanus vaccine should be given every 10 years.
“After the second year of life, immunization is not over,” Legato said.
Appropriate nutrition and supplementation may also be beneficial. Despite the gender-focused attention, osteoporosis also afflicts men.
4.Identification and TreatmentDepression: Depression in men may be much more common than previously estimated. Symptoms are not always obvious.
“We’d put it mildly that women around the world are twice as likely to be depressed as men,” she said. “What they did was move to semi-socially acceptable behaviors: drinking, watching TV, more sexual exploitation.”
Legato is convinced that vulnerability to depression can harm men other aspects of health, leading to increased cases of disease and increased mortality among men in this condition. It’s also a common symptom of “menopause,” characterized by a drop in testosterone in men, similar to, but less pronounced, than the effects of menopause in women. In fact, men are also susceptible to the infamous hot flashes, which often mark a change in a woman’s life, albeit several years later.
The current healthcare system often leaves doctors unable to properly understand a patient’s condition, personality and life structure, Legato said. Take the time to discuss any such concerns with your doctor and be open to treatment. “Pills aren’t always the cure,” Legato said. “Structured conversations can be helpful.”
While Ruxin doesn’t believe male menopause is a real male problem, others agree with Legato’s insights on male depression.
James Korman, PsyD, ACT, director of the Center for Behavioral Health and Cognitive Therapy at Summit Medical Group, agrees that the incidence of depression in men is much higher than reported. He also noted that cultural factors often influence men’s reluctance to receive treatment.
“Men express depression differently than women,” Koeman said. “This can lead to sleep disturbances, mood changes and a lack of interest in sex.”
Depression can be disastrous if left untreated.
Regarding suicide, Koeman said that while women generally earn more to try, “men are better at getting it done.”
Men need to be aware of the impact depression has on them, Legato said. How destructive to health and openly discuss their concerns with doctors.
“Enjoying the day and being as present as possible is the best attitude,” she said.
5. Pay close attention to young men: The reckless nature and lifestyle of teens make them prime targets for injury or death. Women develop a more evolved sense of judgment and decision-making at an earlier age than men. Combined with a mix of testosterone and other hormones, males have a potentially lethal internal formula, biologically speaking. Monitoring their activity and setting prudent limits is critical. “Boys are compared to Porsches without brakes,” Legato said. “They are adventurous, idealistic, intense, and believe they are