What’s with that?

Men don’t take care of themselves. Count me in that group; guilty as charged. 

"Study after study has shown that men are more reluctant to face up to worrisome symptoms or go to the doctor for checkups," says Timothy Johnson, MD, ABC NEWS Medical Editor. "And that is probably one big reason why men's life expectancy, which in the early 1900s was virtually the same for both sexes, now lags behind women's by approximately 6 years." 

Whenever guys have a problem, we just ignore it, with some crazy stupid hope that it will miraculously go away. My left knee started hurting one day after a run. Did I do anything about it? Nope. Guess what happened next? It starting to hurt more, and I began to limp. So what did I do? I took 2 ibuprofen and expected it to go away.  

I’ve been ignoring it for a year now. I finally went to an orthopedic surgeon. The whole visit was less than a half hour. The X-ray showed arthritis in my knee. The doctor said I needed physical therapy and some exercises. Did I do anything about it?  You get the idea.     

Guys eat too much, drink too much, and we don’t exercise enough—not even close—so we are 69.9% overweight or obese, compared with 57% of our female brethren in the US, according to a study conducted by the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation.                                       

Then we take a lot more physical risks, twice as many as she does, which often ends up killing us, according to a study by the British Psychological Society. Unintentional injuries, injuries that occur without intent to harm; in other words accidents (falling, fires and car crashes leading the way)—is the #3—THREE!—leading cause of death for guys after heart disease and cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And get this—it’s the #1 cause of death for men up until the age of 44. 

Me?  I ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, climbed the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt with no safety gear and dove over 200 feet on a beginner’s scuba certificate at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, all before I turned 30. 

So are we a lost cause? No.

In terms of the gap between men and women dying, it’s shrinking each and every year. If a guy lives to 65, he can expect to avoid the Grim Reaper until he’s 84.6, while a woman that makes it to 65 can expect to live, on average to 86.6, just a tad over 2 years longer than the fella, according to the Social Security Administration.     

So what’s the moral of this story?  Guys, we need to learn how to ask for directions, about everything in life, and we’ll live longer.  Now it’s time for me to try those exercises on my knee. 

Sources:

  1. kff.org/other/state-indicator/adult-overweightobesity-rate-by-gender/