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Men and Health

Community news | Thursday, June 2, 2022

Men and Their Health

Women live longer than men. Not only do men live shorter lives than women, they live with more chronic illness. Although women see doctors more regularly, men cost our society more for medical care after the age of 65 than women (Harvard Medical School). According to the Centers for Disease Control, most women are diligent about seeking regular, preventative medical care like yearly physicals and screenings. But why?

Research has shown the answer to be a complex mixture of biological, social and behavioral factors. Biologically, men’s hormones and metabolism may lead them to be more susceptible to some diseases and influences risky and aggressive behavior.

Socially, work stress and a lack of social networks and support tend to lead to more illness. Men are less likely to discuss feelings and problems. In fact, the top three discussion topics for men tend to be: sports, their jobs, and money. There is a lack of communication around health with their peers.

Men’s behavior is a big influence on their health. Men tend to participate in riskier behavior from a young age such as: smoking, alcohol and drug use, and firearm use. These behaviors contribute to a higher mortality rate.

When asked why they don’t see doctors regularly, the top three responses are: I am too busy, I am afraid they may find something serious, and the exams are uncomfortable. Oddly enough, when asked why they went to the doctor, the most common answer was “my partner was nagging me to go.”

How can men live longer? Steps need to be taken with boys at an early age to encourage healthier behaviors, help them express their feelings, and develop care taking skills. And adult males, please, go see your healthcare provider! You can find a great one at the VVRMC Rural Health Clinic, 830-768-9200.