Women should expect a longer life than men, but this gap in the United States has now been reduced to five years, the shortest in 50 years, according to the National Health Statistics Center. While the gap between men and women in life expectancy has declined over the last few decades, it is still very important that men pay more attention to their bodies in order to live a longer and happier/healthier life.
Life Expectancy Gap
There are of course genetic factors and gender predisposition to certain diseases that contribute to the life-expectancy gap between men and women, however, there are also several lifestyle issues that also contribute to the life-expectancy gap between men and women that can be controlled. Examples include:
- Alcohol Consumption. Men are more likely to drink and smoke than women.
- Smoking. Although the gap between the number of male and women smokers has narrowed over the years, more men still smoke than women. Smoking is responsible for 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths in America each year. Smoking also causes chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD). Smoking increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease, and also dramatically affects bone density.
- People suffering from serious illnesses have a mischievous habit of trying to suppress their symptoms. Rather than seeing a doctor right away, they will be putting up with health issues out of shame for as long as possible and fear the care will be even worse.
- Men tend to be terrible patients and ignore doctor’s orders more often than women.
- Men typically work more, work riskier jobs and typically hold on average more stress-related jobs than women.
- Many men are characterized by their jobs, which may contribute to stress. There are also health issues that affect only men, such as prostate cancer and low testosterone, which can also lead to the life expectancy gap.
10 Leading Causes Of Death For Men:
- Diseases of the heart.
- Malignant neoplasms (cancers).
- Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke).
- Accidents (unintentional injuries).
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases.
- Diabetes mellitus.
- Influenza and Pneumonia.
- Intentional self-harm (suicide).
- Chronic Liver Disease and Cirrhosis.
- Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis (kidney diseases).
What Men Can Do About Their Health
Your general health is subject to risk factors such as age, genetics (family history) and personal lifestyle habits (e.g., diet, drinking, smoking, etc.).
While specific risk factors such as genetics are beyond your control, you still can take steps to change your personal habits to take charge of your health. The following are some specific steps that you can take to lower your risk to disease or injury, extend your life and improve the quality of your life:
Stick To A Healthy Diet:
When choosing foods to eat, consider their impact on your health. Consider your family history and predisposition to diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Consider how the foods you choose may also affect your weight and your blood pressure.
Generally speaking, your diet should include healthy servings of vegetables, healthy oils (such as Omega-3’s), low in saturated fat, high in fiber, low in salt and simple sugars, with consideration for fruits that also contain antioxidants that help combat free radicals and reduce your risk to specific cancers.
Supplement Your Diet:
Do to processed foods today, as well as specific methods of cooking and limitations in food choices and diets there are many people that do not get the micronutrients that they need that are important to maintain good health and prevent disease. A good supplement can help you meet your body’s needs for such micronutrients that you might be lacking in your diet.
Have Regular Checkups And Screenings:
Many major health risks that men are facing – like heart disease, colon cancer or prostate cancer – can be prevented and treated with early diagnosis. Screening tests that find diseases early can save lives because they can catch issues when they are easier to treat.
Have periodic full check-ups that include a stress test, body scans, blood panels, prostate exam, colonoscopy, dermatological exam (to catch early signs of cancerous growths).
Know What’s Normal:
Men often will delay seeing a doctor because they assume their symptoms are a natural part of getting older or that there are no easy treatments aside from surgery.
Some symptoms may be confusing, or not readily evident to most men. For instance, regarding prostate health, though the prostate gets bigger as men age, it only proves bothersome for about one-third of men, causing them to frequently visit the bathroom and, once there, have trouble urinating, The other 2/3 may not experience issues and therefore may not get a diagnosis that would start early treatment.
Limit Your Consumption Of Alcohol And Caffeine:
Excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption are known as risk factors to the heart. Alcohol consumption should be limited to no more than two ounces of liquor or the equivalent daily.
The negative health effects related to tobacco are well-known and well-publicized. Most smokers tend to underestimate the risk of smoking to their health or fail to internalize the risk. In fact, most smokers are unable to name a disease other than lung cancer that is caused by smoking, and most smokers rate their own chance of developing a smoking-related disease as less than, equal to, or only slightly greater than “the average person.” When in fact long-term smokers have a 50% chance of dying from a tobacco-related disease. Alarmingly enough, of these deaths, about one-half will occur between age 35-69.
Statistics show that in North America, tobacco use is responsible for more deaths than alcohol and other drug use, car accidents, murders, suicides, and AIDS combined.
In addition to causing heart disease and several forms of cancer, tobacco use causes emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, gangrene, and may contribute to sexual impotence. Being tobacco-free is a major goal in any preventive health program.
Have Regular Dental Examinations And Practice Good Dental Hygiene:
According to the Academy of Periodontology, there is mounting evidence to suggest that people with periodontal (gum) disease are at higher risk for developing heart disease, stroke, uncontrolled diabetes, and respiratory disease.
Be Safety-Conscious At Home And On The Job:
Do not step on the top step of ladders. Wear appropriate personal protection as needed when at home or work (safety glasses, hearing protection, etc.). Wear reflective clothing when running in the dark. Wear bike helmets when biking. Think about the safety aspects of all of your life.
Take Time To Exercise:
Exercise reduces stress. Stress can cause havoc on your body in several ways. Exercise is a preventive measure for many significant health issues including some forms of cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, depression, just to name a few.
Generally, 45 to 60 minutes of a sustained low impact exercise activity, three to five days per week is a good goal for most adults. Always consult a health care provider before starting an exercise program. An exercise program should start slowly and gradually build-up to this level.
Everyone should wear sunscreen to protect their skin from the damaging effects of the sun that lead to skin cancer. It has an added bonus of preventing the severe photoaging that the sun causes.
Being a defensive driver can reduce your chance of being involved in a car accident. Refraining from talking on a cell phone while driving will also greatly reduce your risk of a car accident.
Always wear your seat belt while driving. You should wear a seat belt whenever you are in a motor vehicle. Injury and death from auto accidents are common causes of disability and death in adults.