If you don’t know by now, it’s a fact that women live longer than men. Any visit to an old age home will confirm this, and the science backs it up. Indeed, women can expect to live 7.6% longer than men at age 20 years, and 14% longer at age 80 years. You may think this has to do with something genetic or even some more elaborate health programs women embark on. Truth be told, men can learn some simpler and better health habits to live longer if they truly want to.
Live longer by adopting this habit
Women are more likely to visit their doctors for regular check-ups than men. In fact, men have admitted that they would rather be doing household chores, like cleaning toilets, than going to the doctor. This habit is often the difference behind discovering a health issue in its early phases, which will improve the outcome and even save lives.
How does this affect men’s health?
Well, men face a higher risk of heart attacks, lung disease, and dying from unintentional injuries. What’s more, worldwide, men are more likely to commit suicide than women.
Why don’t men prioritize their health to live longer?
It seems obvious that if you prioritize your health you will nip any potential illnesses or conditions in the bud. Yet researchers have confirmed the men are just not good at going to see a doctor. They believe it has to do with stigma and existing norms around masculinity.
Without question, cultural and traditional ideas about masculinity can influence how men perceive and prioritize health issues. In fact, research shows that men who adopt traditional ideas about masculinity often face more barriers to seeking health care.
Traditional ideas about masculinity also can cause men to avoid sharing their emotions and feelings. They fear that they will be perceived as weak if they share their fears and concerns about their mental health.
Men and mental health
In fact, women are more likely to seek out care when it comes to their mental health. We are learning more and more that mental health plays a critical role in quality of life.
Since men don’t seek help for their mental health issues, they’re also more likely to turn to harmful substances to cope.
This means that men are more likely to die from alcohol-related causes, and they are also more likely to abuse drugs when compared to women.
Most would agree these habits do not lend themselves well to living longer.
When men do visit the doctor, this is what happens
Research shows that men who visit the doctor have admitted to not always being honest about their health. They are also more likely to withhold information from their doctors in the past.
In addition to being embarrassed or uncomfortable, men also withhold information from their doctors because they are worried about the potential diagnosis that results might reveal should they tell the truth.
Why men shouldn’t avoid doctors
It will save lives. Simple. It’s important to go for regular check-ups as this will help the doctor pick up on early warning signs of a more serious condition. Not all diseases have easily recognizable symptoms and this is why regular check-ups are so important. Take prostate cancer for example. If detected early, patients diagnosed with prostate cancer can have a much better prognosis.
Here Are 5 Ways Men Can Prioritize Their Health Better
1. Men need to respect that their mental health matters
Mental health is a real medical concern and men should address their mental health the same way they would any other health condition. What’s more, if they feel that their mental health has been in disarray lately, they need to understand that reaching out and seeking help is not a sign of weakness but rather of absolute strength.
2. They should adopt healthy habits
Adopt lifestyle habits can help men maintain their health better. Healthy lifestyle habits include not smoking and regularly exercising for 30 minutes, at least 3 times a week.
3. Visit their doctor for regular health screenings
Regular screening is a great way for both men and their doctors to have a better understanding of their overall health. That said, men should go for the following regular screening and exams:
- Prostate exam
- Blood pressure and cholesterol screening (to determine your heart disease risk)
- Blood glucose reading (to determine your diabetes risk)
- Colorectal exam (to determine your colon cancer risk)
4. Eat a healthy diet
A diet high in fiber-rich foods (whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) and low in refined sugar and processed foods is a great way to keep the body healthy. A Mediterranean or DASH diet is the healthiest diet to follow, according to research.
Men should also monitor their alcohol intake and stick to no more than two glasses of alcohol a day.
5. Become more safety-conscious
Men are more prone to accidents than women. This will obviously get in the way of anyone’s goal to live longer. Perhaps it is because they are more willing to take risks when it comes to activities. Whether it is abseiling off bridges, cycling down mountains, or even as simple as driving a car.
Indeed, research shows deaths from injury in auto-related accidents are more common in men than women. It’s important that men be more safety-conscious when they are behind the wheel. They should obey the rules of the road and this includes not driving under the influence, obeying all speed laws, and staying off of their devices when driving.
Men’s health is important and regardless of stigma and traditional ideas about masculinity. Men should do their best to always prioritize their health, so they can live longer. They owe it to themselves and to those closest to them.
Men should stop pretending they are not at risk. Click here
- Himmelstein, M. S. & Sanchez, D. T. (2016). Masculinity impediments: Internalized masculinity contributes to healthcare avoidance in men and women. Journal of Health Psychology, 21(7), 1283–1292. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105314551623