Friday, April 27, 2007

Delivering the Male

From Himself and His Listlessness

The natural superiority of women is a biological fact, and a socially acknowledged reality.

Ashley Montagu (1905- 1999), The Natural Superiority of Women, 1998

Despite having had most of the social determinants of health in their favor, men have higher mortality rates for all 15 leading causes of death, and a life expectancy about seven years shorter than women's. Men's reluctance to embrace preventive strategies has also contributed to the spread of AIDS, particularly in Africa, and to an alarming rise in infections among young men, including other sexually transmitted diseases.

Furthermore, there is a sustained increase in psychosocial disorders in men, including alcohol and substance abuse, mid-life crisis, depression, and domestic violence.

Men's increasing aggression and auto-aggression remain an unsolved health and societal problem. As you read this, over 30 wars and conflicts rage around the world, mostly created, maintained, and aggravated by men.

Can something be done to improve men's life expectancy? Are there effective and morally acceptable strategies to modify men's negative behavior towards themselves and others?

We hope that these questions and the need to answer them trigger a strong movement in support of more focused and stronger research on men's health.

Although there is still a long way to go in most societies around the world, it is clear that women can perform (and on most occasions outperform) pretty much all the tasks traditionally reserved for men. In most of the developed world women are starting to outnumber men in medical schools and making rapid gains in terms of equality in compensation and opportunities in the workforce.

Will we see the gap in life expectancy between men and women widen as the gaps in social determinants of health become narrower? The answer is probably yes, unless women continue to adopt the same negative behaviors that characterize men today.

With the advent of sperm banks, in vitro fertilization, sex sorting techniques, sperm independent fertilization of eggs with somatic cells, human cloning, and same sex marriages, it is also reasonable to wonder about the future role of men in society.

Singfried Meryn, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chairman of the First World Congress of Men’s Health, “The Future of Men and Their Health. Are Men in Danger of Extinction, British Medical Journal, November 2003.

As a male, I’m part of an endangered species. And like most men, I’ve been listless about my health. Here I correct the listlessness problem, for myself and all you other fellows out there.

The Bad News List


• see doctors 8 times less often than women;
• live five fewer years than women;
• drive more recklessly than women;
• are more stoic than women in face of pain;
• have no medical specialty devoted exclusively to their care (perhaps we could call it “manstetrics/anthropology);
• carry more abdominal fat than women;
• on average, have a 40% greater chance of dying than women at any age;
• have lower HDL levels than women (lower levels are “bad,” which is why they call HDL the “bad” cholesterol);’
• don’t know erectile dysfunction is a sign of hardening of the penile arteries, similar to hardening of the coronary arteries;
• have worse prognosis with depression (suicide 4 times more common than women);
• fare badly with diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension compared to women (we delay seeing the doctor, and we’re diagnosed too late to do any good).

The Good News List

If the foregoing depresses you, lighten up Here’s the good news. You can do something about it, by:

• measuring your waist – should be 40 inches or less;
• knowing you cholesterol – maintain it below 200;
• check your blood pressure – strive for levels below 120/80;
• don’t ignore and correct erectile dysfunction;
• keep your alcohol below two glasses;
• wear your seatbelt;
• when it comes to “fight” or “flight, ” flee.

The Male Resource List

• Prostatecancerfoundation

That’s it, Guys. You now have your bad-good-health lists. No more excuses.

Here’s to your health!

Please limit toasts to two glasses.


Tara Parker-Pope, “The Man Problem; Science Confronts Vexing Issue of Men’s Short Lifespans; The Case for the ‘Viagra Visit,’” Wall Street Journal, April 24, 2007.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sexual potency is an ability of a man to carry out sexual intercourse; therefore impotence is inability of a man to carry out sexual intercourse.