gender health equality

Life expectancy for males in America in exactly 5 years lower than females; 76 years as opposed to 81. This is something we’re all vaguely told is the case, but there’s now been a lot of attention on it being an issue. While much of this is our own doing - poor eating habits, stress and dangerous jobs for instance. Much of it is actually within our control as well.

The differences in risk can be put down to several different categories: biological, social and behavioral. The latter two are essentially socially constructed, whilst the first is more of an inherent feature of our differences. Or in other words, biological differences are something we have to just accept, whilst the other two we can help change.

Biological

First and foremost, men naturally produce a lot more testosterone than women. Whilst testosterone used to get the blame for a lot of health conditions, it’s more that the estrogen that women produce is protective of heart disease. Having said this, testosterone is a large factor in diseases of the prostate. 

Whilst we can’t change biological factors at their source, we can still take precautions due to being aware of our increased risk, such as taking Prostaphytol for maintaining a healthy prostate. Prostate issues are a widespread disease for men all around the world. An enlarged prostate causes difficulties with urination as well as erectile dysfunction. Through the powers of pomegranate, natural support such as Prostaphytol can produce antioxidant and have an anti-inflammatory effect inside the prostate — it's even possible that results can be noticeable after a few days. This is a great way to maintain a sex life, good sleep and normal urination patterns as we get older.

Prostate cancer also falls under the reproductive anatomy differences too of course, though women are actually more likely to die from breast cancer than men are from prostate cancer. Finally, whilst metabolism accounts for some cholesterol health differences, it’s beginning to look like the socially constructed differences are the key driver behind this health gap. 

Social Factors

The gender pay gap argument often points to how the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are dominated by men. This is true, but this also encapsulates how work stress is more likely to kill a man than a woman. Stress is profoundly dangerous to us, as researchers such as Sapolsky have shown. This is arguably why the life expectancy gap has reduced a little over the past 50 years — as women have gained more equality and opportunity to get higher paid, more stressful jobs. 

Secondly, it’s well known that women are more sociable than men. They tend to have a better network of friends, be more open and support each other better than we do. If we want to overcome this, it’s on us. We must become better communicators and support each other better.

Behavior

If we think of extremely dangerous jobs, such as working on an oil rig or a fireman, they’re mostly dominated by men. This is shown by the fact that men are 23 times more likely to die at the workplace. This is a social factor (men are expected to do these jobs before women), but it also comes down to our attitude towards risk. Perhaps it can be blamed on testosterone too, but we simply take more risks when it comes to things like bike helmets, not wearing seatbelts, taking too many drugs, stuns and so on.

Men tend to smoke and drink more than women, which accounts for many deaths. This is a big factor in heart disease and lung cancer. Why is this the case? Perhaps our attitude towards risk, or perhaps we are more predisposed to addiction. Whilst it’s more common for women to have a common mental health condition such as anxiety, it’s far more likely than men are to die from suicide (4 times as likely in America). Such anxiety statistics are also skewed by the fact that men feel the stigma more than women and are less likely to seek help. 

This isn’t just mental health either, though. Men are less likely to seek medical help generally. Toxic views surrounding masculinity create a deterrent against seeking help, as it’s somehow a sign of vulnerability. Thankfully, these attitudes are slowly changing around the world.

Lastly, whilst exercising is fairly equal among men and women, women tend to eat healthier. In fact, one survey showed women to be 50% more likely to eat the recommended 5 fruits and vegetables per day.

How Men Can Close The Gap

Firstly, education and attention to this health inequality is vital. We’re not talking about it enough, starting with politicians. Secondly, health checkups need to be normalized more. Routine prostate checks, for example, need to be more commonplace, as well as seeking help for signs of mental illness. This could prevent the fatality of many physical and mental conditions.

Next, men should be doing better at the standard advice of: eat better, exercise more, reduce alcohol and tobacco. These are the things that make a huge difference, require a lot of effort, but are very well documented. This stuff is talked about all the time, so there’s no excuses.

Lastly, men need to get better at being open with their friends and family. If you’re struggling with stress from your job, there’s no harm in admitting it and finding a more suitable one. If you’re not going to a get-together because of some mental health issues, there should be more encouragement to be transparent about it.

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