Men’s Health: How to Live Longer and Happier
Every year different research demonstrates the same trend: no matter which continent, the economic development of the country of residence, cultural trends, and religious aspects, men consistently live less than women. Sadly, the experts are more convinced that the leading causes of lower life expectancy are carelessness about health, reluctance to do preventive examinations, and neglecting doctors’ recommendations.
Why do men live less?
According to the World Health Organization data, in 1970, the life expectancy at birth was 61.2 years for women and 56.4 for men. In the last forty years, this parameter has increased by almost eleven years, but the difference between genders has not decreased, and it has even increased: life expectancy for women was 73.3 and 67.5 for men.
In different countries, the difference between life expectancy for men and women can be ten years or more. What is the reason for such a considerable difference? The WHO’s overview of social determinants of health for the European region has discovered sixty-seven risk factors for increased mortality, with sixty of them prevalent in men. Still, one of the main reasons for such a significant difference between living expectancy for men and women is a difference in attitude to health.
The experts of the WHO have interviewed 50,000 Europeans. The interviewees responded to the question, “Do you see a doctor at least once per year?” It turned out that between the ages of 36-45, 40% of men and 60% of women seek medical assistance; at the age of 46-60, these figures are 41% for men and 59% for women; for people aged over 60, the correlation remains the same. It shows that in all age groups, women turn for medical assistance, on average, 20% more often than men.
Men’s health: What you need to know
You need to know your risk factors as early as possible to take timely preventive measures.
The more boxes from the list below you tick, the higher your risks are:
- You are older than 60.
- Some of your family members have died from heart attacks and strokes.
- You smoke.
- You have a high level of cholesterol.
- You have high blood pressure frequently.
- You lead a sedentary lifestyle.
- You are overweight or obese.
- You have diabetes.
- You drink alcohol more often than two times per week.
- You notice that you have felt considerably worse during the last 5-7 years.
- You have a medical examination less than once per year.
- You live alone.
- You find it hard to do any minimal physical exercise (for example, you find it difficult to go upstairs to the second or third floor).
Which habits can help men’s health
The older we are, our way of life and habits are more important. What we do now will define our background, which we have at a vulnerable age. Here are some simple patterns you should follow as early as possible to live as long as possible.
● Don’t be afraid of doctors
While women turn for medical help after feeling unwell for a short time, men are inclined to wait, ignore symptoms, and go to doctors only when the disease has become irreversible. Also, men pay less attention to their sensations and disregard many alarming symptoms such as an acute headache or unpleasant sensations in the chest (first signs of heart attack or stroke), considering it as a consequence of uncomfortable posture during sleep or weather changes.
The main rule is: always seek medical attention when you experience any unpleasant or unusual sensations. Don’t wait for them to pass, don’t live with them, don’t google them, and don’t try self-healing. Go to see a doctor at once and describe all symptoms in detail. Sometimes, one can prevent severe and dangerous disorders at the very early stages only because he or she noticed a slight pain in the stomach or decided not to wait for a sudden increase in body temperature to disappear by itself.
Another helpful habit is to have an annual medical examination even in the absence of any alarming signals. After 40, you should control your blood pressure, sugar level, and cholesterol, do blood tests and have a physical examination. Your doctor will help to make the list of the most critical tests.
● Control your diet
There is nothing complicated here; most likely, you already know the rules; eat less sugar and salt, skip trans fats, and consume less processed meat, sweet drinks, and quick carbohydrates. Try to balance your diet with plenty of:
- fresh fruits and vegetables
- whole-grain products
- high-fiber foods
- lean meat, poultry, fish.
● Keep moving
Heart diseases are one of the most widespread causes of death in men worldwide. Meanwhile, an active lifestyle is one of the most effective ways to prevent them. Regular exercise will improve psychological health, memory, and cognitive abilities. According to the data of WHO, it is enough to have 150 minutes of exercise per week, doing not only aerobic exercise but also reasonable power training.
● Keep an eye on your pants size
No, this is not a joke. Having a fat belly is dangerous for your health. The fat which accumulates in this area encapsulates the internal organs, preventing them from functioning normally. The critical size of your waist is 33,85 inches. If your waist measures this or more, you should do something about it.
● Control the level of vitamins and minerals
In the ideal case, we shall receive all necessary vitamins, minerals, and other useful substances from food, but in reality, almost everyone lacks these vital substances. A balanced diet is important, but you should check to see if you have deficits of any essential substances and vitamins and discuss taking special food additives with your physician, if necessary.
● Protect your skin
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer and one of the deadliest forms of this disease. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (ADD) information, this risk is particularly high for men over 50 years. What can we do to protect our health? First of all, protect yourself from dangerous ultraviolet rays, use sunscreen (not only at the beach but also in the city), wear sunglasses in winter, too, to protect the sensitive skin around the eyes, and avoid tanning parlors. It is also essential to regularly visit a dermatologist for examination if you have found new or changed moles and other marks on the surface of your skin.
● Regularly check the health of your prostate
Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in men. You should see a doctor if you have urinary problems, feel pain when urinating, or notice blood in the urine. But even if there are no alarming symptoms, you should regularly see a doctor in order not to miss the onset of this disease.
● Pay special attention to your gut after 50
Colon cancer is one of the most prevalent diseases that kill hundreds of thousands worldwide. It is an age-related disease, most often diagnosed in people older than 50. That is why it is vital to get a regular colorectal cancer test after 50. A colonoscopy is not the most pleasant procedure, but in some cases, it can literally save your life.
Cheat the system
Statistics are just numbers. At the end of the day, it is your life, and it depends on you and a little luck. Take care of yourself, keep your health in mind, and remember that the stereotypes are not worth dying for. Perhaps it is worthwhile to give up just a tiny part of ostentatious masculinity for the happiness of living longer with those you mutually love.
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