So what makes men die young?
Even though there are more boys born than girls, females account for slightly over 50% of the UK population as a whole. Why? Because women tend to be healthier than men, and live longer. A baby boy born in the UK today can expect to live for 78 years but a baby girl can expect to live to the age of 82.
The six biggest man-killers (in decreasing frequency) are common, sometimes preventable and often treatable, conditions:
- Cardiovascular disease – including ischaemic heart disease, stroke and atherosclerosis
- Cancer including lung, prostate, stomach, oesophageal and pancreatic cancer.
- Respiratory problems including asthma, COPD and emphysema
- Neurological disorders including Alzheimers and other forms of dementia, and Parkinson’s
- Digestive disorders, in particular liver disease
- Urinary tract disorders, particularly kidney disease and renal failure.
All these conditions (except prostate cancer) affect women too, but one important reason that men are outlived by women is that they delay or avoid taking the first step in helping themselves – seeking medical help when they become unwell. The average man visits his GP four times a year compared to six times a year for the average women.
The main things that men do which puts their health at risk are often attributable to poor habits and lifestyles. (Women do these things too – they’re not perfect either – but this article is about the blokes).
The six biggest health risks for men – in order of importance are:
- High blood pressure
- Raised cholesterol
- Obesity (associated with type 2 diabetes)
- Not enough fruit and veg in their diets
- Lack of exercise
There are many other factors that lead men to die earlier than women – in particular there are significant gender differences in deaths from suicides and accidents – both on the roads and elsewhere. Of course women are generally more risk-averse and it’s usually men who relish risk-taking behaviour (tackling the more inherently dangerous sports, jobs and tasks).
So there’s lots men can do to reduce their risk of an early demise……But what about enhancing longevity?
Statistics suggest that guys live longer if they are married (sorry about that!), if they keep within the alcohol consumption recommended limits (happily, a small amount of alcohol is actually better for you that none so it’s not all bad news), if they use safety equipment when performing high risk activities, take steps to reduce their stress levels and, of course, getting a good night’s sleep.
So go out there, make a few changes for the better in the way you live your life, go see your doctor if you’re under the weather and get yourself a good woman!