Men’s Wellbeing: How Can We Stop Men Dying Young?
There have been numerous articles stating the reasons behind men not living as long as women or throwing around statistics to show that men are dying earlier than women. One thing that these articles seem to neglect is how to stop our men dying earlier than women. The idea that my partner may not live as long as me is scary, and I want to do something about it. Everyone is entitled to a long and full life regardless of their gender. Below are ways in which we can make changes that may help lower the chances of an early death.
According to The Office of National Statistics, ‘a newborn baby boy could expect to live 79.2 years and a newborn baby girl 82.9 years if mortality rates remain the same as they were in the UK in 2014 to 2016 throughout their lives’. This suggests that from the moment we are born, we already have the statistics in our favour as females or against us as males. However, these statistics are not stating facts, they are merely a likelihood, a chance. Chance can be changes according to its environment. I know multiple men who have lived to their 80s and 90s, so what’s the secret to a long life?
Some men choose jobs that are hands on and risky, such as being a construction worker, firefighter or a soldier in the army. There are also women who choose these professions, however the percentage of women is low in comparison to men. In no way am I saying stop choosing these sort of jobs, but I am saying be more careful. Sometimes accidents are just that, being in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, there have been deaths where people haven’t been watching where they are going or paying full attention to what they are doing. In professions, such as these, be sure to give your full attention all the time to reduce the likelihood of injury or death.
A study by J.Deakin, M. Aitken, T.Robbins and B.Sahakian (1999) found that risk taking in volunteers changed with age. Both men and women showed a similar pattern when it came to decision making, but men took greater risks. Age slowed down the willingness to take risks as there was less risk tolerance. It is also known that the frontal lobe of the brain in men, that controls judgement and consideration of consequences, develops slower in boys and young men. With that risk factor, there is increased risk of death. Things like driving fast or engaging in contact or violent sports are examples. Making better judgements and thinking about the consequences can help to reduce the chance of death. Driving at a sensible speed or playing sports that are not as violent can help you to live longer.
According to the Samaritans Suicide Statistics Report 2017, male suicide rates remain higher than female suicide rates across the UK and Republic of Ireland. The report showed that there were 6,639 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland in 2015, with the highest rate being in men aged 40-44 in the UK. Suicide is a complex topic and the reasoning behind why someone takes their own life can vary. There is no one solution to fix suicide rates, however there are a number of organisations who offer help and support to people suffering from suicidal thoughts. Speaking about issues before they get too overwhelming can help to reduce the likelihood of committing suicide. There will be a link to support below.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality stated that men are more likely to miss routine health screens. This could be due to the social stigma that men should ‘man up’ when they are unwell. It is always better to check with your doctor when you have symptoms or are feeling unwell as it could be the start of something more harmful to your health. It is always better to get early diagnosis and treatment where needed, but in order to do that, you need to see your doctor. Getting a check-up or seeing your doctor when you are unwell will not make you less of a man, it could save your life.
These are just a few ideas on how you can slow down death. There are some more obvious ways such as cutting back on alcohol consumption and to quit smoking, exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet. We hope to see the average age that men live up to increase and it can start by making small changes in your everyday habits and changing your mind set.
Rogers, R.D., Everitt, B.J., Baldacchino, A., Blackshaw, A.J., Swainson, R., Wynne, K., Baker, N.B., Hunter, J., Carthy, T., Booker, E.,London, M., Deakin, J.F., Sahakian, B.J., & Robbins, T.W. (1999a). Dissociable deficits in the decision-making cognition of chronic amphetamine abusers, opiate abusers, patients with focal damage to prefrontal cortex, and tryptophan-depleted normal volunteers: Evidence for monoaminergic mechanisms. Neuropsychopharmacology, 20, 322–339.
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