Why is men's health poor?
- Many men are still brought up to believe to believe that they must be strong and tough, and behave as if they are indestructible. This makes it hard for them to look after their health; in fact, it encourages risk-taking behaviours such as smoking, excessive drinking and dangerous driving. Having to be "macho" also makes it harder to ask for help from a doctor.
- Men have some in-built biological problems. The male sex hormone testosterone may raise the level of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), the "bad" type of cholesterol that increases the risk of heart disease. Also, when men put on weight, fat tends to build up around the waist, the worst possible place in terms of developing the furred-up arteries that cause heart problems.
- Because men don't have periods, they lack a mechanism that regularly and naturally makes them feel aware of, and in touch with, their bodies. What's more, men's reproductive systems don't require them to maintain any regular contact with healthcare services. They don't need to see a doctor to obtain contraception and, of course, they don't get pregnant.
- Health services haven't done much to encourage men to look after their health. Most GP's surgeries are still open only at times when men are likely to be at work, for example, and often don't feel like male-friendly places. There's also been chronic under-investment in research into male-specific problems, especially prostate disease.
Have your say about men's health
Why do you think men's health is so bad and what would you like to see done about it? Contribute your views.
Page created on July 25th, 2003
Page updated on January 20th, 2010