Why Men Don’t Live As Long As Women
By Reliv Product Marketing Specialist Tina Van Horn
John Wayne and James Bond never worried about their health. They faced impossible odds, but always seemed to be able to get back up and finish off the bad guys. Reality is quite different. In real life, John Wayne developed heart disease and had a cancerous lung removed. Ian Fleming, who created James Bond, died from complications of a chest cold because he bucked his doctor’s orders and played golf instead.
Gender-specific health statistics tell the real story: men live much shorter lives than women and have higher risks for all 15 leading causes of death except Alzheimer’s disease. Despite these statistics, most American men think their health is “excellent.” And they’re literally dying to prove it. Although their health risks are largely preventable, men’s infrequent health care, combined with behavior that’s better left to Hollywood stuntmen, shortens their lives by more than five years.
According to a survey from the American Academy of Family Physicians, 38 percent of men go to the doctor only when they are extremely sick or when symptoms don’t go away on their own. CDC statistics indicate that women are 100% more likely to visit the doctor for annual exams and preventative services.
Why such disparity between men and women?
There are certainly prominent public health campaigns and efforts to educate women about the importance of well-woman exams and mammograms, but there are also obvious general attitude differences between men and women towards health maintenance and prevention.
Men have a tendency to put their health pretty low on their list of priorities and take more risks when it comes to healthy behaviors. Health care professionals understand that most men’s thinking is that if they can live up to their roles in society, then they are healthy. As long as they are working and feeling productive, most men ignore physical symptoms that may be the first signs of health problems.
These attitudes help explain the difference in life expectancy between men and women. From infancy to old age, women are simply healthier than men. Although the gender gap is closing, men still die five years earlier than women, on average.
The top threats to men’s health are not secrets; they are common and often preventable.
Leading causes of death in men
1) Heart disease 24.6%
2) Cancer 23.5% (prostate, lung, colorectal, bladder, skin)
3) Unintentional injuries 6.3%
4) Chronic lower respiratory diseases 5.4%
5) Stroke 4.1%
6) Diabetes 3.1%
Now for the good news…
Prevention is possible! But it requires the acknowledgment of men’s vulnerability to develop conditions like cardiovascular disease, specific cancers and diabetes based on genetics and lifestyle choices. Prevention also requires action to make changes to reduce the likelihood of these conditions.
Of the men who do go to the doctor, one symptom that they frequently complain about is low energy or fatigue. Instead of enjoying leisure activities with family and friends, they find themselves camped out in the recliner watching TV. Sometimes fatigue manifests itself emotionally and looks more like anger or depression.
Identifying the cause of low energy can be a challenge because it is often the result of lifestyle factors including stress, poor diet, inactivity or lack of sleep. Fatigue can also be caused by underlying illnesses like depression, congestive heart failure and high blood pressure. So in addition to making the lifestyle changes that can improve your energy levels, it is also imperative to work with a physician to rule out any of these conditions that may be masquerading behind the fatigue.
In the absence of a specific diagnosable condition, there are a number of lifestyle interventions that promote energy and overall well-being:
- The best fuel comes from food. It’s practically impossible to separate nutrition from any area related to health, especially energy. The foods that many of us reach for when we feel the afternoon slump, like soda, chips and sugary sweets, have the opposite effect that we are looking for. These types of foods cause erratic blood sugar responses, which negatively affect energy levels. Optimal energy production requires an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Every cell in our body can unlock its energy potential with the proper fuel from food.
- Supplementation can be key. If we don’t get enough nutrients from foods, we suffer from sub-optimal cellular energy metabolism, making us feel tired and sluggish. With so many of us relying on quick meals, processed foods and dining out, we are consuming far too many calories that lack actual nutrient quality. Specifically speaking of men, numerous studies show that fewer men than women are getting the daily recommendation for fruits and vegetables. Supplementation with quality dietary supplements like Reliv can make up for the nutrition gaps that may be contributing to low energy.
- Get more sleep. Many men don’t get enough sleep, and on average get less than women. The cut-off for good health is about six hours. Any less than that and a man may experience physical, mental, emotional and cognitive impairments.
- Exercise regularly. Feeling tired? A walk may be better than a nap for boosting energy and fighting fatigue. Research suggests regular exercise can increase energy levels. In fact, the average effect of exercise was greater than the improvement from using stimulant medications, including ones used for ADHD and narcolepsy.
- Limit Alcohol. Aside from the fact that alcohol is a depressant, it also has effects on energy levels because the body cannot break down and metabolize the calories in alcohol for energy. In addition, alcohol disrupts the water balance in the body and may impair sleep, interfere with muscle synthesis and decrease testosterone levels.
- Fatigue and your weight are tightly intertwined. Being overweight means men have to work harder to do simple physical tasks, such as climbing the stairs. Being just 10 lbs. overweight can lower energy levels and create fatigue due to the inflammatory conditions associated with being overweight, as well as the disruptions to optimal hormone regulation, including testosterone in men.
Some men do have specific health challenges and Reliv’s condition-specific formulas may provide the nutritional support they need to feel better and have more vitality and energy to enjoy life.
Click here for more information on Reliv products.
A note from Dr. Carl Hastings
Reliv products provide the energy-boosting micronutrients that are missing in many of our diets, like Omega 3 fatty acids and B vitamins. Reliv Now®, 24K® and Innergize!® combine effective ingredients backed by clinical research and they are formulated to work synergistically to tap into your body’s natural vitality and promote peak performance. These formulas provide broad-based nutrition to nourish your body and provide fuel for healthy, sustainable energy.
To your health,
Dr. Carl Hastings
Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer
This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. Reliv products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
- Allison, KC. (2011) Harvard Health Blog. “Fight Fatigue by Finding the Cause.” www.health.harvard.edu/blog.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. 2013
- Statistics Canada. Canadian Community Health Survey. Fruit and Vegetable Consumption 2013.
- Olivo, Lisa. New Frontiers in Men’s Health. Nutraceuticals World. June 2016.
- Current Facts about Men’s Health. http://menshealth.org/code/facts.html. Accessed June 6, 2016.
- Top 10 Cancers Among Men. University of Rochester Medical Center. Health Encyclopedia.https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=134&ContentID=132. Accessed June 6, 2016.
- Leading Cause of Death in Males United States 2013. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Men’s Health. http://www.cdc.gov/men/lcod/2013/index.htm
- Majority of Men Avoid Preventive Health Measures. American Academy of Family Physicians. June 11, 2013. http://www.aafp.org/media-center/kits/men-preventive.html. Accessed June 6, 2016.
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