International Men’s Health Month (June) serves to remind us that healthy lifestyle choices are rarely the first thing on a man’s mind. Yet, men’s health is a vital topic to address, not least because too many men die early. In most Westernised societies, men die five or more years younger than women. Could be because men are so much easier to live with? However, being serious for a moment, in truth it’s about the differences in biology and behaviour that is shortening men’s lives.
Illness in men and women will, of course, never be exactly the same. Our bodies may be similar but they’re different enough for life to be interesting. Physical differences, though, are not the only reason why men die younger; behaviour is a critical factor too. There are many studies to show that men seek medical care much less often than women do. Understanding the reasons for this may be key to narrowing the lifespan gap.
“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” is a common male mindset. In contrast, women tend to be more attuned to the benefits of staying young and healthy. No prizes for guessing where the most advanced illness is found.
Another factor is the classic male role-model seen in many cultures. By this example, a man learns that he should be strong, capable, independent and have no need to ask for help (or travel directions). These are ideal skills for bossing a business or saving the world, but they’re not so great when the goal is self-preservation.
The commonest killers of men are, of course, the usual suspects: heart disease, cancer, lung disease, stroke and diabetes. But what may be less well known is that men have a much higher suicide rate than women. The unwillingness of men to admit when they need help is thought to be a major factor. To make a decision to seek help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength. Reach out HERE.
Also, men tend to run a smaller network of friends and many find it hard to discuss their emotional problems. The high rate of male suicide is a tragedy.
So, what can be done? Here are some Men’s Health recommendations you might like to consider:
- Take regular outdoor exercise – such as a daily 30 minute walk, for instance. Even better: walk with a friend.
- Seek out more friends (male or female) and work on maintaining these friendships – it is your safety net.
- Find people with whom you can laugh – laughter increases endorphins, raises your spirits and gives you a good reason to live longer.
- Find a hobby that helps decrease your stress.
- Consider seeking help with your diet to maintain a desirable weight
- Reduce your intake of tobacco and alcohol – and don’t pressure your friends to smoke or drink.
- Get an annual physical exam with your doctor.
- If you’re feeling low, don’t be shy to talk about it; seek medical help if the feeling persists.
- Reach out to a man you know – they may be feeling lonely and you could make a real difference.
The team at Be Well Medical Center are available to chat with you about your health needs. Whether that would be a full check up with one of the doctor’s, physiotherapy treatments to reduce pain and discomfort or seeking help about changing your diet.
At Be Well we run Special Clinics : Cardiology, Urology, Hearing and Orthopaedic, which are designed to ensure our members can schedule check ups regularly. Being ahead of the curve.
You can call us on 02 111 6644 or email us on HERE.