Dr. Ciara Kelly one of Ireland’s leading Cardiologists as well as being an established radio and TV presenter has recently written an eye opening article outlining 15 distinct reasons as to why men die younger. Dr. Kelly reveals that men can be poor at looking after their health even when they have significant signs as men are inclined to avoid attending their local GP’s as well as for general check-ups.
The life expectancy of an Irish man is 78 which is five years less than the life expectancy of an Irish woman. Men are more prone to risk of heart disease, more likely to commit suicide and are at a greater risk of getting cancer.
It remains that heart disease is the number one killer of men and indeed women with the astounding figure of killing one in every six men. Men can be affected with heart disease from as early as their thirties and forties whereas women tend to be affected more in their sixties, this again highlights a significant reason why men die younger than women.
Dr. Kelly outlines the following 15 key reasons why men have a lower life expectancy than women.
As stated previously heart disease is the number one killer of Irish men which mostly stems from family history and smoking cigarettes. According to Dr. Kelly’s article almost one in five men in Ireland smoke. To put this in perspective one in ten of these people will die as a direct result of smoking cigarettes. The best way to eradicate this is to quit smoking today and as a temporary assist, switching to vaporisers is healthier for your lungs but eventually the goal is to quit nicotine all together.
Diets containing high levels of fats will immediately increase your risk of getting heart disease as it can substantially increase LDL cholesterol which is bad for the heart. In order to increase the ‘good’ cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, Dr. Kelly suggests a balanced diet to include; salads, vegetables, fruit, fish, nuts, seeds, avocados and olives.
3. Body Weight
Men tend to have higher BMI’s not just because of muscle weight but also because of body fat. Dr. Kelly reveals that it is common for Irish men to carry fat around their stomach area creating an “apple shape” which is a sigh of obesity. As well as this not only is the stomach lined with fat this level of fat means that the heart is also encased by fat. Having a surplus amount of fat around the heart makes it more difficult to pump efficiently therefore increasing the risk of heart disease. Dr. Kelly suggests maintaining a healthy body weight and blood pressure level to take strain off the heart and decrease the risk of heart disease.
4. Physical Activity
Currently there is a notable “split” amongst Irish men. On one side you have more sedentary men who do not participate in physical activity and on the other there are highly active men that participate in gruelling exercise for fitness and health. Being sedentary for large portions of the day is linked to risk of heart disease so participating in 30 minutes of exercise every day is essential for heart health.
“Alcohol is the curse of the Irish man. With the average Irish man drinking more than almost anyone in the world.” – Dr. Ciara Kelly
Alcoholic drinks are high in sugar and therefore calories. This effectively puts weight on men, in particular to the belly area.
The second biggest killer of men is cancer. Men are at most risk to prostate, lung, bowel and liver cancers. Quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake and keeping weight down will greatly reduce the risk of getting cancer.
7. Processed Meats
Ham, sausages, bacon and salami are high in fat and can increase the risk of bowel cancer. By reducing the intake of these meats bowel cancer and heart disease risk can decrease.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men and is often more aggressive the younger you get it. A key indicator is difficulty in passing urine or going to the toilet more regularly. Family history can also indicate your risk.
Dr. Kelly States that increase the frequency of ejaculation can reduce your risk of prostate cancer.
10. Unintentional Injuries
Unintentional injuries include “road deaths, accidents, fights, falls and overdoses”. According to the article men’s risk of death from these injuries is around double than it is for women. Men are bigger “risk takers” than women and also drink more measure of alcohol which can have a great effect on all of these injuries.
Living a healthy lifestyle as outline above decreases the risk of stroke however, arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats cause strokes. An indicator for this is palpitations. Also high alcohol intake can increase the risk of having a stroke.
“One in 20 men get Type 2 diabetes but that rises to one in eight in the over sixties.” – Dr. Ciara Kelly
Type 2 diabetes is another main reason for death in men and is a result of obesity. As stated previously maintaining a healthy BMI, reducing sugar intake and low-carb intake reduces the risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
13. Influenza and Pneumonia
Men over the age of 65 are at high risk for flu symptoms. Dr. Kelly suggests that getting vaccinations for both will help in succumbing to these illnesses.
14. Chronic obtrusive pulmonary disease
COPD almost always stems from smoking and results in “an unpleasant form of slow suffocation”.
“Mental health and suicide is a genuine crisis for Irish men that needs addressing urgently.” – Dr. Ciara Kelly
Suicide is three times more likely among men than women and is the number one cause of death in young men in Ireland. According to Dr. Kelly alcohol has a affected approximately half of suicides. Not only alcohol but lack of sleep and keeping feelings or worries to themselves are effecting men’s thoughts and emotions. When men are struggling they should seek help and feel they have an outlet to communicate with be it professional or personal.
The benefits of health screening can be felt by both the employer and the employee alike. Health screening is an effective way of increasing employee morale, and leads to reduced sickness and levels of absenteeism.
Smoking Cessation Programmes, Carbon Monoxide Lung Analysis, Cardiovascular Risk Assessment, Alcohol Awareness/Risk Assessment, Spirometry, Celiac Testing, Weight and Stress Management.