Health expert speaks on why men tend to die younger than women

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Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 3:53 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - June is Men’s Health Awareness Month, and for some men it can be difficult to admit when it’s time to see a doctor. However, this delay can often lead to more problems down the line.

According to a Harvard Medical School finding, people of box sexes are living longer. But decade after decade, women continue to out-pace men, with the gap being wider now than it was a century ago. Men die younger than women, but they are more burdened by illness during their lifetime.

Those findings also showed that American men are about four times more likely to be hit by gout, they’re more than three times likely to develop kidney stones, to become alcoholics or have bladder cancer. Why is this?

KSLA sat down with Dr. EJ Mayeaux, Jr., senior associate dean for population health and primary care with LSU Health Shreveport, who said there are a combination of reasons why men tend to go to the doctor less often.

“Certainly among men there can be a stigma, its related to the ‘Superman Syndrome.’ Oh, you can’t be weak, you’ve got to be strong. So, doing anything to actually make you feel better or admitting that you need to get help goes against that sort of stigma,” he said.

Mayeaux said other reasons include a fear of diagnosis, the lack of available time to see a doctor and vulnerability which can make it easier to ignore what’s going on instead of acknowledging it.

“Someone may have been having chest pain for years. If they had come in earlier, we could have changed their risk factors, we could have potentially help them regress some of that cardiac disease. If the first time I see you is when you’ve had the heart attack, I can’t save that piece of heart muscle that’s died. It’s gone,” he said.

There are ways to break the stigma if you’re a man and you find yourself in this predicament. There are also ways for other to support the men in their life who need help with this.

  1. Get a primary care doctor.
  2. Sign up for annual appointments with them. This way, if something it wrong, it can be found early.
  3. Don’t delay if you notice a problem in your body. Schedule an appointment for the same day.

“If you do the prevention that science has shown us prevents disease and extends quality of life, then everyone can benefit. We just have to convince the men that they are just as important as everyone else to get that care,” said Mayeaux.

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