June is Men’s Health Month and Healthy State is focusing on some key areas of health and safety for the guys.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), men have an average life expectancy about five years less than that of women.
There are certain behaviors that negatively affect men, more than women. Below are some considerations to ponder when it comes to the men in our lives staying healthier.
First: statistically, throughout life males are more than twice as likely than females to die in automobile accidents.
“The combination of speeding, road rage, not wearing a seat belt, and driving intoxicated can be deadly,” said Dr. Bruce Campbell, Chair of Executive Health at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. Additionally, distracted driving related to cell phone use has recently emerged as a leading cause of deadly crashes.”
More men die of suicide than women. In fact, about 3.5 times as many men died by suicide than women in 2017.
“Men can learn from women how to take better care of themselves,” Dr. Campbell said. “Men are conditioned to hide their emotions and often become socially withdrawn and engage in destructive behavior.”
Dr. Campbell explained these unhealthy behaviors can include drinking too much, working around the clock, and misusing drugs. These behaviors can lead to divorce, another factor that negatively affects a man’s overall health.
“I always encourage my married male patients to stay married,” Dr. Campbell said. Married men tend to be healthier than single men, including having more social interaction, often because of their wives.
Changing the Status Quo
There needs to be an open conversation if the change is going to happen. Many of these problems fall along with society’s gender divisions.
“Schools are doing a better job knocking down these gender barriers,” Dr. Campbell said.
It may sound crazy in this day and age, but some men today still avoid the doctor. They may postpone their annual physicals or, if they go, not disclose everything that is bothering them.
This culturally driven masculine behavior frequently starts on the sports field, Dr. Campbell said. The message to young boys is to ignore the pain and suck it up, which can translate to ignoring potentially worrisome symptoms later in life.
It’s also important to realize that one can feel great but still have health problems. “Often you’re not going to feel if you have high blood sugar, high cholesterol or high blood pressure,” Dr. Campbell said. That’s why it’s important to get checked out by your healthcare provider annually for a physical exam. “I always encourage my male patients to know their numbers and to do this they need to see their health care provider.”
For more tips on how to change negative behaviors, speak with your health care provider.