Right from the moment of conception, males are subjected to a higher mortality rate compared to females, according to Psychology Today. Research has found that 57% of all Americans aged 65 and older are women while, by the age of 85, 67% are female. Could it be that men have erroneously been labeled as the stronger sex since the dawn of time? Is the modern man’s lifestyle to blame for his mortality or do genetics play the bigger part? Further investigation is needed to determine why men are at a disadvantage when it comes to longevity and also what lifestyle changes can be made to negate this handicap.
Are men a lost cause when it comes to healthy living?
There is a myriad of reasons why the ration of men to women systematically favors women over time. Men are, without a doubt, bigger risk takers than women. This can be attributed to the fact that the frontal lobe of the brain that controls judgment develops significantly slower in boys than in girls. This could contribute to the fact that more males than females die in car accidents every year. There are also more men than women employed in dangerous industries such as fire fighting, military combat, and construction in which injury and death are a very real possibility.
Males are often socially disconnected
Furthermore, research has found that many men are less able (and less interested) than women when it comes to building and maintaining solid social connections. Unfortunately, people with weaker and fewer social connections tend to have higher death rates than those who have even just a couple of meaningful friendships. Apart from being socially disconnected, men generally also engage in more bad habits than women. Of these, drinking, smoking, and unhealthy eating is not only the most prevalent but the most detrimental to one’s health and well-being as well.
What are the biggest health concerns faced by men?
While poor judgment and freak accidents often lead to untimely deaths, there are also a number of serious health concerns that contribute to the elevated mortality rates among men. Research conducted at the Harvard Medical School found that all through life, men are twice as likely to have heart attacks than women. While one possible cause for this phenomenon is the decreased estrogen levels in men, many heart attacks are also brought on by untreated high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels.
Diabetes and cancer also takes its toll
Diabetes was recently listed as the 7th leading cause of death in the USA. At present, approximately one in 10 men have diabetes and are 40% more likely than women to die prematurely of the disease. Although diabetes is a serious disease it can often be controlled very well through lifestyle changes and medication. Another major health concern among men is cancer. The current cancer mortality rate among men stands at 196.8 per 100, 000 with the American Cancer Society predicting that 31,620 men will die from prostate cancer alone this coming year. Sadly, men are a lot more likely to skip routine health checks resulting in previously-treatable illnesses going undetected for too long.
Self-care is not rocket science
With men seemingly pulling on the short end of the stick with regards to living long, fulfilling lives, self-care is becoming more important than ever before. In truth, men need to start consciously working hard to take care of themselves. While the term ‘self-care’ may conjure up very girlish images, it is by no means a feminine practice. There are, in fact, a number of simple yet very effective ways which will empower even the most masculine of men to look better after themselves.
Getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do for your body. A good night’s rest is just as important for your health and well-being as eating healthy and getting regular exercise is. Studies have shown that men who don’t sleep enough are not only more irritable than normal, but also increasingly at risk of suffering from cardiac disease or have a stroke. Lack of sleep has also been linked to a higher incidence of depression which, in turn, can affect various facets of a man’s life. There are a number of hormones inside the male body, such as testosterone, insulin, and cortisol that are affected by your sleeping patterns. When these hormones go haywire you can expect anything from weight gain to a decreased sex drive. Making the effort to sleep between seven and nine hours a night will not only result in improved immune functioning but will also help maximize your athletic performance while improving your productivity and concentration significantly.
The typical American man seemingly has a very unhealthy relationship with food with 70.7% of adult men being considered either overweight or obese in 2017. There appears to be some truth to the stereotype that women order a salad in a restaurant while men will pig out on the biggest, greasiest burger and fries on the menu. It is not surprising that eating healthy forms a very important part of effective self-care. Aim to eat more healthy foods such as fresh fruit and veg, fatty fish, lean protein, and whole grains while cutting back on junk food. Not only will your waistline thank you, but you will also boost your overall health significantly which will give you a much bigger chance of being around long enough to watch your children grow up.
Listen to your body
Our bodies have a unique way of telling us when something is not right, all we need to do is listen to them. Any unexplained aches, pains, or changes in the body could just be a sign of getting older, or it could point to something more severe. Avoidance is never good when it comes to your health. The longer an underlying medical condition is ignored, the worse it is bound to become. The same rule applies to just about every facet of your well-being. If you are experiencing immense work-related stress, perhaps it is time for a vacation. If you find yourself in excruciating discomfort during or after exercise, perhaps you should tone down the intensity a bit. Always listen to your body and trust your instinct. Chances are you can prevent serious injury or illness just by doing so.
Have more, safe sex
Studies conducted in Britain and Sweden found that having sex more frequently can result in a longer, healthier life. The reasoning behind this is fairly simple. Sex is considered good exercise and we all know that exercise is good for your heart and lungs. Sex is also a great de-stressor and even improves the body’s immunity according to research conducted at the Wilkes University in Pennsylvania. It is important to remember though that sex is only beneficial if it is safe. Having to receive treatment for an STD could hinder your self-care regime significantly and can also result in severe mental and physical anguish. Always use a condom (unless you and your partner are in a committed relationship and trying to fall pregnant) and remember that sexually transmitted diseases can be transferred during oral sex and foreplay as well.
Looking after yourself does not make you any less of a man. In fact, being conscious of your own well-being is not only bound to increase your lifespan somewhat but is also one of the most attractive traits any man can have.