Ten health mistakes men make

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 11 Apr, 2024 07:00 | 4 mins read
A bottle of alcohol. PHOTO/Pexels
A bottle of alcohol. PHOTO/Pexels

Statistics show women live longer, healthier and have a better quality of life compared to men. In more developed countries, the average life expectancy at birth is 79 years for women, 72 years for men.

In less developed countries women can expect to live an average of 66 years, compared with 63 years for men. Is the fairer gender doing something different that is tipping the scales in their favour?

Here are things male gender should avoid to give their well-being a chance.

1. Not visiting the doctor

There is a joke that men pay more attention to their cars than to their health. As much as they are quick to make an appointment with a mechanic, they tend to ignore early symptoms of a possible disease as slight problems that will disappear on their own.

Men don’t visit the doctor for the same reason they don’t read instruction manuals or ask for directions. Psychologists explain that men prefer to learn by doing rather than asking for help.

Men are geniuses when it comes to finding reasons not to see a doctor. Plus men are far more likely to skip going to the doctor for annual check-ups. As a result, they’re more likely to forgo routine tests such as blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar screenings, all of which may impact heart disease risk.

Early diagnosis can curb the disease in the nascent stages. The biggest help men can give their health is visiting their doctor whenever they are unwell and for regular medical check-ups.

2. They work too much

For generations — and probably millennia — men have been valued primarily for their ability to work hard and protect their families. While these aren’t necessarily bad things, it’s easy for an obsession with work to get out of hand.

Making work too big of a priority causes men to ignore health concerns. To turn this around, try to get adequate sleep, find the time to remain physically active, be mindful of what and how much you drink and eat.

3. Downplaying stress

While stress is something that affects all of us, men and women tend to deal with it in different ways. For instance, men tend to be stoic about their stress and avoid talking about it.

Bottling up stress can heighten the body’s internal response – increasing blood pressure and stress hormones. Overtime, chronic stress can lead to artery damage and increase heart disease risk.

4. Drinking their problems away

One of the major health mistakes men make is treating their ‘blues’ with alcohol. Men are nearly twice as likely as women to binge drink, defined as having five or more drinks during one occasion.

About one in five men admit to binge drinking five times a month, according to American Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Men have higher rates of deaths and hospitalisations related to alcohol use. Heavy drinking also increases the risk of aggression, physical assault, and suicide in men.

It can also affect sexual health and fertility, increasing the risk for impotence. Excessive drinking is associated with several chronic health issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, stroke, depression, mental decline, and alcohol dependence.

5. Refusing to get help for sexual problems

Yes, it can be difficult to talk about it, but having a problem in this area has nothing to do with your masculinity.

For example, the source of erectile dysfunction (excluding prostate cancer treatments) could be linked to a lack of blood circulation in the penis, which can be corrected with timely medical intervention.

It can also be a sign of a heart problem, so don’t ignore it, and consult.

6. Ignoring or overlooking risk factors

Did you know that men tend to develop coronary artery disease and experience heart attacks nearly 10 years before women do? Knowing the impact of your age, as well as other risk factors, like family history are essential.

While these factors aren’t necessarily something you can change, your doctor can help you to effectively manage them.

7. Questionable bathroom hygiene

Unfortunately, offensive, as it does sound, studies in personal and bathroom hygiene show that men tend to avoid washing hands more than women. Washing hands can avoid many diseases and infections from spreading.

Using soap is an important part of the hand-washing ritual. Every time you return home from out, the washroom or sit down for a meal, lather up the suds and wash your hands.

8. Not eating right

Eating a high-protein diet is the norm for many men— think nyama choma. On its own, protein isn’t unhealthy. However, high-protein foods are often higher in saturated and trans fats, both of which aren’t great for heart health.

Our bodies’ organs simply weren’t designed to meet the demands put on them by the consumption of highly processed, high-sugar and high-fat foods. And when they’re forced to filter these substances long-term, the consequences can be severe and life-threatening.

Focus on putting the most pure, whole foods into your body.

9. Not making time for exercise

It’s easy to cut out exercise when your schedule is full with work and family obligations. A sedentary lifestyle raises your risk of obesity and related illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke.

Physical inactivity is not only defined by little or no physical or sports activity, but also by spending a significant part of your day sitting or lying down. This distinction is important to keep in mind.

Among sedentary activities are reading, driving and being in front of a screen (smartphone, television, computer, tablet, video game console); activities during which the energy expenditure is minimal.

According to the World Health Organisation, lack of exercise is as harmful as smoking or being obese. Make exercising a priority and plan it into your weekly schedule. 

10. Not checking on self

Many men live in denial and do not check their health parameters on their own. Learn the steps of checking yourself for prostate and testicular cancer.

One of the instant giveaways of something wrong with your system is the number of times you urinate. Going too many times could hit at diabetes, prostate cancer and an overactive bladder.

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