Men’s health – Better Health Channel

Better Health
Australian men are more likely than Australian women to get sick from serious health problems. Their mortality rate is also much higher. Men die in greater numbers than women from almost every non-sex-specific health problem. Overall, for every two women who die, three men die.

This figure holds true among children too. In deaths due to accidents or drowning, boys account for two out of three deaths.
Male deaths outnumber female deaths in every age group apart from the over-65 years, and only because so many men die before reaching retirement. Compared to women, men visit the doctor less frequently, have shorter visits and only attend when their illness is in its later stages. High-risk groups

Australia ranks high in life expectancy rates. Only three other countries – Iceland, Japan and Hong Kong – have higher life expectancy rates for men. However, Australian men don’t live as long as Australian women. On average, Australian men can expect to live 79 years, compared to women who can expect to live 84 years.
Certain male population groups in Australia have a lower life expectancy than 79 years, including:
Australian Aborigine and Torres Strait Islander men
Migrant men
Men who live in rural and remote areas of Australia
Socially disadvantaged men
Men with disabilities
Men who are in prison
Non-heterosexual men, including gay, bisexual and transgender males
Intersex people.
Top 10 causes of premature death in men

According to data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2016, the leading causes of death for Australian men include, in order from first to last:
Ischaemic heart disease
Trachea and lung cancer
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
Cerebrovascular diseases
Chronic lower respiratory diseases
Prostate cancer
Colon and rectum cancer
Diabetes
Blood and lymph cancer, including leukaemia
Suicide.
Some deaths are more likely for men than women

Some causes of death are related to sex (or gender). For example, a man cannot die during childbirth, because only women have babies. Similarly, a woman cannot die from prostate cancer, because only men have a prostate gland.
However, according to 2016 data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, men outnumber women in many causes of non-sex-related deaths. For example:
Suicide – 75 per cent of deaths are male
Trachea and lung cancers – 60 per cent of deaths are male
Blood and lymph cancers (including leukaemia) – 58 per cent of deaths are male
Ischaemic heart disease – 57 per cent of deaths are male
Colon and rectum cancers – 55 per cent of deaths are male.
A range of theories

It is clear that women are healthier than men, but why? Some of the theories that attempt to explain the health differences between the sexes include:
In Australia, more money is spent on the healthcare needs of women and children than is spent on the healthcare needs of men. The healthcare system reflects this bias. For example, the waiting room of most medical clinics has women’s magazines and children’s toys. This subtly suggests that men aren’t as welcome.
Men are more likely than are women to work full-time. Office hours for most medical clinics coincide with typical work hours, so men in full-time employment find it difficult to make an appointment. (Of course, this is also true for women who work full-time.)
Men, particularly older men, typically prefer to see a male doctor for intimate or embarrassing issues. However, the family doctor may be female.
Men are traditionally encouraged to do the high-risk jobs that are stressful, dangerous and deadly such as mining, logging and construction.
Men are encouraged by our culture to be tough and independent. Some men could believe that visiting doctors or complaining of feeling ill are threats to their masculinity.
‘Macho’ men

Men in Western societies such as Australia are less inclined than women to take an active role in maintaining their health. They are also less likely to seek professional help for problems, particularly those of an emotional nature. Some of the social and cultural reasons for this include:
The Western definition of masculinity includes strength and silence. Men may feel that it is a sign of weakness or ‘femininity’ to seek help.
Males, particularly teenagers, tend to act as if they are invulnerable. This can lead to destructive behaviours such as drug or alcohol binges, or reckless driving.
Women are more likely to have regular contact with doctors because of reproductive issues such as menstrual periods, contraception and pregnancy. Men don’t have a similar reason that requires them to regularly see a doctor.
Socioeconomic status

The ‘macho’ theory proposes that men may start looking after themselves if they stopped behaving like tough guys. However, some researchers believe that blaming cultural constructs of masculinity is a way of passing the buck. Bad health may be the fault of the social environment in which the men live. It has been well documented around the world that poverty breeds disease. The importance of employment

Many researchers have demonstrated the direct link between employment status and men’s health. Issues include:
A man’s self-esteem is closely linked to his role as breadwinner. Unlike women, men aren’t as strongly encouraged to find self-worth in the roles of parent and homemaker.
Unemployment puts great financial and emotional strain on a family. The man, as breadwinner, may feel burdened with guilt and shame.
Men without trades who go from one unskilled job to another are more likely to feel devastated by periods of unemployment.
Men who feel in control of their lives are more likely to look after their health. Men who are unemployed often feel helpless.
Male depression

One out of every six Australian men suffers from depression at any given time. Statistics include:
Teenagers and the elderly are particularly at risk.
Male depression is associated with an increased risk of health disorders such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Men are likely to resort to destructive behaviours in an attempt to deal with depression.
Depressed men are twice as likely as depressed women to abuse alcohol and drugs. Men often try to manage their symptoms of depression by using alcohol and other drugs, which make the symptoms worse.
Depression is a known high-risk factor for suicide. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, men of all ages suicide at a higher rate than women.
Where to get help
Your GP (doctor)
Men’s health clinic
Australian Men’s Shed Association Tel. 1300 550 009

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Men Improve Your Health Today

1. Give Your Heart Some TLC

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death for men.  You can give your heart some TLC by making sure to eat fresh fruits and vegetables daily.  An easy way to ensure you are getting balanced nutrition is choose foods that are a variety of colors.  A heart healthy diet doesn’t have to be boring or bland.  Find out which foods are a part of a heart healthy diet.

2. Move Your Body

Indiana ranks as one of most obese states in the U.S. not just for adults, but for children as well.  The good news is that research shows that just 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise can help improve your health.  Click the graphic below to discover 8 easy ways you can make time for a 7 minutes of exercise from the American College of Sports Medicine.

3. Make An Appointment with Your Doctor

The life expectancy for men is 5 years less than women, and men are 100% less likely to visit their doctor for preventative health exams.  Why is preventive care so important?  Preventative care can help you keep up good health, and detect any health issues early before they become a major challenge, which can help you have a better quality of life for you and your family.  Find a doctor you are comfortable with so you can openly discuss all aspects of your health from your mental health to sexual health and your overall wellness.

 

4.  Quit Smoking

Whether you smoke cigarettes, vape, or chew tobacco, you already know that tobacco and the additional chemicals in cigarettes can lead to diseases such has high blood pressure, cancer, and more. Did you also know that tobacco can also contribute to poor mental health?  Research studies show that people who stop smoking have less depression, anxiety, and stress and have improved positive mood and quality of life compared with those who continue to smoke. Although smoking rates have went down across the U.S., 21% of Hoosiers still smoke which is higher than the national average.  You can improve your own health and help boost Indiana’s health ratings by giving tobacco the boot. Check out these resources to live tobacco free!

 

5.  Take Care of Your Mental Health

Your mental health is inseperable from your physical health so it’s important to make sure you are taking care of your mental and emotional well-being.  Over 6 million men report struggling with depression, and over 3 million men report struggling with anxiety.  Many times, men are more reluctant to seek help for depression, anxiety and other mental health issues for fear it it makes them look weak or because they feel they should be able to handle it on their own.  More recently, famous male athletes and entertainers have been sharing their struggles with mental health to help other men feel comfortable to share their stories and seek help.  The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love wrote an article called “Everyone Is Going Through Something,” to share his struggle with panic attacks and NFL player Brandon Marshall has also shared his journey with Boderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

Recently, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shared his battle with depression:

“[It] took me a long time to realize it but the key is to not be afraid to open up. Especially us dudes have a tendency to keep it in. You’re not alone.”

If you are feeling overwhelmed or struggling with depression, anxiety or substance abuse talk to a mental health professional who can help you.

For more information on mental health and to locate treatment services in your area, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Referral Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).