Dortmund (dpa) – Men are more frequently affected by certain serious illnesses than women. On average, their life in Germany is about five years shorter. And at the same time, according to experts, they often behave less health-conscious and are significantly more risky.
According to several studies, men also consult the doctor less often than women and prefer to avoid preventive medical visits. Experts therefore see the need for action on International Men’s Day (19 November).
Studies by the German Society for Men and Health (DGMG) show that 59% of all women but only 22% of all men undergo a preventive medical examination, as Frank Sommer says. “Men are still reluctant to stock up,” said the DGMG president. But at least long-term studies have indicated that more and more men are gradually going for controls. This is a slow but steady trend.
Long waiting times and fear of unpleasant results
About 970 men were interviewed to determine the reasons for reluctance to consult the doctor. Result: 78% said that the long waiting times had deterred them, says the professor of men’s health at the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf. About one in four fears an unpleasant or bad message. One in five expressed concern that an exam could be painful. Many men are also insufficiently informed about their risk factors, such as blood sugar or blood lipid levels, says Sommer.
There is certainly a reason for the medical checks: in the case of cardiovascular diseases, men are significantly more often affected than women, especially in the 40-60 age group, as the urologist says. “Sometimes five times as many men as women in this age group suffer from sudden cardiac death.” Men are also generally more likely to be diagnosed with cancer. Burnout occurs frequently.
Preventive controls are extremely important
Prevention is important, Sommer stresses. An example: If you clarify the cause of erectile dysfunction, you might encounter a vascular problem that is sometimes the underlying cause. This in turn could indicate generalized vascular disease and the impending occurrence of a heart attack or stroke several years later. If you find out early, you have the opportunity to perform targeted prevention of a heart attack or stroke.
Hone a mindful lifestyle
The Men’s Health Foundation warns that men should be motivated to take more responsibility for their health and educate them about specific risks and mindful living. A representative survey commissioned by the foundation of 16 to 28 year olds sees signs of change: just under a quarter of the 2,115 young respondents cling to the “old and fixed pattern” of a dominant male role model, explains Health and social security. researcher Klaus Hurrelman. According to the analysis, these men are the most likely to have serious health problems because they pay little attention to their body and mental stress.
One in three young men regularly drink alcohol, and the study also ranks media consumption as problematic for one in three men. “A certain contempt for one’s own physical vulnerability” is found in nearly half of the respondents. But it’s going in the right direction. A spokeswoman for the foundation tells the younger generation that a growing proportion allows for “sensitive perception” of health issues and closer examination of them.
High proportion of depressed men
However, looking at the male population as a whole, the foundation criticizes that health still plays a secondary role for many. About twice as many men as women die from lung cancer. And it can be assumed that Germany has the highest proportion of depressed men in Europe. About 62 percent of all men are overweight. Alcohol and drug use is much more common among men than among women. In addition, their behavior on the road is more risky – around 75% of all road traffic deaths are men.
Many theories about life expectancy
And why do men have a shorter life expectancy? There are a multitude of theories, often linked to genetics and external factors, explains expert Sommer. Concerning genetics: On the Y chromosome in men – women have two X chromosomes, men on the other hand X and Y – significantly less genetic information is encoded than on the X chromosome. If the X chromosome of the man is damaged, the Y chromosome cannot perform all the functions.
Contrary to the oft-quoted adage that men are the stronger sex, Sommer points out, “We men are really the weaker sex health-wise.”
Men’s Health Foundation
Men’s health info Professor Sommer