Men's health risks


Mortality rates for all of the 15 leading causes of death for the total population are higher for males than females. Men die almost seven years earlier than women.

 

  • Men are more likely to suffer from
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
  • Men are less likely to exercise and are more to be overweight
  • Less in-take of nutritional supplements
  • Spending no time to taking care of them.

Some says that this is in part because men are “allowed” to be overweight. The media may present a man who is chunky as still being very masculine and even attractive. The behaviors and greater awareness of healthy behaviors women exhibit are due in part to the societal value of their appearance and their body. If a woman is overweight, she is considered to be less feminine. Women place greater emphasis on taking care of their bodies which leads them to exhibit healthier behaviors.
Behavior is the most important factor influencing health and those changes in behavior is the most effective way to prevent disease.


Independence and invulnerability

 

  • Men are significantly less likely to visit their physicians to receive preventive health care examinations (making only 40.8% of all physician visits).
  • A quarter of the men who are 45 to 60 do not have a personal physician.
  • Men fail to make advised annual heart checkups.
  • Men between 25 and 65 are four times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than women.
  • More likely to be diagnosed in a later stage of a terminal illness because of their reluctance to go to the doctor, also be due to a tendency of men not to notice symptoms as quickly as women do.

 

Masculine gender role stress


Some men feel stressed by societal pressure to act masculine. These men feel that they have to prevail in situations that require physical strength and fitness. To appear weak, emotional, or sexually inefficient is a major threat to their self-esteem. To be content, these men must feel that they are decisive and self-assured, and rational. Masculine gender role stress may develop if a man feels that he has acted unmanly.
In 1987, Eisler and Skidmore found five mechanisms of masculinity that accompany masculine gender role stress. They include:

  •  The emphasis on prevailing in situations requiring fitness and strength
  • Being perceived as emotional and thereby feminine
  • The need to feel conquering in regard to sexual matters and work
  • The need to repress tender emotions such as showing emotions restricted according to traditional masculine customs.

 

Coping strategies


Standards of masculinity can not only create stress in themselves for some men, they can also limit these men's abilities to relieve stress. Men and women have different ways that they appraise stressful situations and cope with them. Some men appraise situations using the schema of what is an acceptable masculine response rather than what is objectively the best response.
Men are limited to a certain range of “approved” responses and coping strategies.

  • Because of this limiting schema, men may not cope with stress as effectively as women cope with stress.
  • Women tend to break down, let their emotions out, and discuss their stress with a friend. Afterwards, they feel better.
  • Men have limited options for coping with stress. This can result in internalizing the stress and not dealing with it which only leads to the stress building up inside and effect health

 

Stoicism and emotional repression


Society has different rules with regards to the way that men and women are supposed to express themselves. Men are generally regarded as the ones who are supposed to give comfort and strength. If they break down, cry, or seek comfort they may lose face. Women and other men do not give men an option to express feeling sad, tired, weak, depressed, inadequate, needy, or lonely without sacrificing their masculinity.
Men are also four times more likely to commit suicide than women. Often, the family and friends have no idea that something was wrong. Rather than seeking the help of a professional or even talking to their friends, men often try to deal with depression on their own, many times resulting in death.

 

Risk-taking


Men, significantly more so than women,

  • Tend to drink and drive
  • Not to wear a seat belt
  • To be aggressive and fight
  • To drive fast and dangerously.
  • To be involved in a homicide
  • To be involved in a motor vehicle and other accidents.
  • Three times more likely to die of accidents than females.
  • 93% of workplace deaths.

All these because of masculine risk-taking behavior.


Men generally take more risks with their health than women. All these behaviors are acceptable for men and are to some extent deemed masculine. Men are twice more likely to die from cancer than women are.
Men are more likely to smoke, not wear sunscreen, eat unhealthily, and not exercise.
The reasons for this willingness to take risks are widely debated. Some argue that the behavior is mostly or completely caused by social expectations and acceptance of risky behavior in males. Others believe that men, especially young men, are genetically predisposed to be less risk-averse than women because, in terms of a group's reproductive capacity, the loss of a young man is much less damaging than the loss of a young woman, which would seem to present evolutionary pressures towards men being more predisposed to risk and danger. Some also cite how widespread and culture-independent certain aspects of masculine identity are, implying that if masculinity was purely learned, different societies in different times would have completely different ideas about the masculine gender role, which has historically remained relatively consistent.


Media encouragement


The magazine celebrates“male” things such as liking guns, fast cars, and fast women and reading pornography regularly. In the magazine several “ideal” men are promoted. The problem: all these men have health risks.

  • The bodybuilder image that is promoted usually has poor exercise regimens that fail to work out the whole body or do cardiovascular work.
  • The “steak and potato” image is linked to high cholesterol.
  • The excessive beer-drinker image can lead to alcoholism and drunk driving.
  • The fast-food, pizza- and McDonalds-lover image promotes obesity.
  • The sexual champion image puts men at a higher risk for STDs.
  • The idea of man as a sports loving, TV watcher promotes toughness and aggressiveness.