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Most men will live a shorter life than women, but why?

Dr. David Samadi wants men to take charge of their health, one step at a time

The Ultimate MANual ranked no. 2 on BookAuthority's 20 Best Men's Health books of all time

Dr. David Samadi, New York City urologist, prostate cancer surgeon, and men’s health expert, discusses reasons for the longevity disparity between men and women

Men should make their health a priority and not an afterthought. It's all about practicing healthy habits and checking in at least yearly with their doctor that extends men's lives.”
— Dr. David Samadi
NEW YORK CITY, NY, UNITED STATES, May 25, 2023/ -- The state of men’s health is not in the best of shape. It is well-known that men have a shorter life expectancy than women. While it’s a startling statistic, across the lifespan at every age, boys and men are more likely to die at younger ages than girls and women. Moreover, men are dying years before women. For example, in 2021, the average life expectancy for women was 79.1 years.(1) For men, they experienced a decline of 1.0 years from 74.2 years in 2020 to 73.2 years in 2021, representing the biggest longevity gap in a quarter century.

What’s going on? Why is there such an age gap in longevity between the sexes? This shouldn’t be the case. For instance, men have largely been represented in research, but we still don’t completely understand why men develop heart disease much younger than women. Over the decades, there’s been a vast improvement in modern medical technology, life-extending medications, earlier and enhanced screenings for disease, and public health campaigns, all of which have made our lives easier and longer. Yet, given all the amazing achievements we’ve had in medicine, for some reason, it’s not always benefitting men.

There are several factors that are contributing to the longevity disparity between men and women. Firstly, men are more likely to engage in risky behavior such as smoking, excessive drinking, and drug use. These habits can lead to various health problems, including heart disease, cancer, and lung disease.

Secondly, men are less likely to seek medical attention when sick or in pain. They simply are not conditioned to go to the doctor. This could be due to societal expectations that men should be "tough" and not complain about their health. As a result, medical issues such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or depression in men tend to go on long before they are caught. As a result, men may delay seeking medical treatment, which can lead to more serious health problems.

On the other hand, women regularly seek medical care with mammograms or pap smears. Men don’t really start getting the message about going to a doctor until a later age. This is true across the globe – it’s not just a U.S. problem.

Thirdly, men are more likely to work in dangerous jobs such as construction, mining, a fireman rescuing people from a burning house, or law enforcement. These jobs expose men to physical injuries and hazardous chemicals, which can lead to long-term health problems.

Lastly, genetics also play a role in the life expectancy of men. Men are more likely to inherit certain genetic traits that can increase their risk of certain health conditions. These inheritable medical conditions may include aggressive, life-threatening prostate cancer, type 2 diabetes, and depression leading to suicide.

In conclusion, there are numerous ways to improve men's health. While several factors contribute to men’s shorter lifespan, it is essential men take care of their health and seek medical attention when needed. By making lifestyle changes and being proactive about their health, men can increase their life expectancy and lead healthier, happier lives.

Here are examples of healthy lifestyle changes that can make a significant difference in improving men’s health:

• Eat more fruits and vegetables, less sugar and unhealthy fat
• Get active and exercise regularly
• At age 40, get a baseline prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test for prostate cancer
• Don’t smoke or for men who do, talk to their doctor about quitting
• Lose weight if necessary
• Manage stress
• Have blood pressure screened regularly
• Limit the amount of alcohol



David Samadi
Madison Urology
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