By: Jane Langille
Why do Canadian men have a life expectancy that is four years shorter than women?1
One reason is that men do not take care of their health as well as women, who are more likely to visit a doctor for an annual physical and speak up about health issues.
According to Movember Canada, the other key reasons why they don’t live as long are:
- Men don’t like to talk about health issues or how they’re feeling
- Men are more likely than women to engage in risky behaviour
- A lack of awareness about men’s health issues
- A social attitude that men should just “tough it out” and minimize their symptoms
All of these prevent men from getting the help they need to maximize their health for a long lifespan.
An annual physical allows men to find out early if they are at risk for chronic diseases, like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, prostate disease, and pneumonia. Early detection and treatment to manage health conditions can help men life longer and life better as they age.
Make the appointment!
You may think that employers disapprove of time taken off work for annual physicals, but many employers encourage them since they value health as a key driver for employee productivity.
Come prepared and speak up
You may also be afraid to talk about something with your doctor, especially if it is about mental or sexual health. A recent Canadian study among older men found that issues like memory loss, medication side effects, vision loss and hearing loss are topics that older men feel are not adequately addressed by their physicians.1
You may be embarrassed, but rest assured that your doctor will not be! Bring a written list to your appointment to make sure all your questions get asked.
- It’s Your Health – Men – Health Canada
- Prostate Cancer Canada
- Canadian Mental Health Association
- Heart & Stroke Foundation
1. Statistics Canada: Life expectancy for men is 79, for women is 83.
2. Effect of age, education and health status on community dwelling older men’s health concerns. The Aging Male: Cara Tannenbaum, June 2012, Vol. 15, No. 2, Pages 103-108 (doi:10.3109/13685538.2011.626819).