Men in New York (and in the U.S.) live shorter lives than women. Here are some suggestions to extend their life expectancy
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
The average New York male has a life expectancy of 77.92 years, according to www.worldlifeexpectancy.com, compared with 82.79 for women. It’s understandable that men’s life expectancy tends to be shorter than women’s. Many male-dominated occupations such as commercial fishing, forestry, farming, construction and electric line workers tend to be high-risk occupations. Men also tend to engage in riskier hobbies at higher rates than women and riskier behavior in general, such as performing stunts, smoking and using illicit drugs. Men don’t tent to maintain regular doctor visits and ask about health screenings.
Men can take a few steps to increase their potential for a long, healthy life. Two local doctors offer suggestion for a longer and healthy life
1. “Work on cancer prevention. One out of nine men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and that can impact men’s health because of chronic morbidity and coping with the disease aftermath. Healthy weight and diet are important for cancer prevention. A few anti-inflammatory things can help, like improving vitamin D and vitamin E levels. Eat enough eggs, fish and fortified foods like milk. Relatively safe exposure to sunlight helps with D. Lypocene-rich foods like tomatoes, watermelon and apricots show good association with improving men’s health and suppressing things that stimulate cancer growth.
2. “Omega-3 fatty acids show variable evidence at this point in reducing risk of heart disease and prostate cancer. There’s low relative risk in taking it.
3. “Try to see what you can do to improve mental health. Many articles talk about the rise of depression and suicide, and not necessarily only men. Mental health for men is still very under-served. Men need to be more open about it, to talk with loved ones and with primary care providers. Depression affects sleep and ability to function at work and their ability to feel motivated to eat well and exercise. The mind-body connection is very, very strong. If we don’t correlate mental health with physical health, we’re not whole.
4. “Maintain a good weight through exercise and nutrition, as it’s good for health. It decreases risk of arthritis, improves cardiovascular health and wellness and decreases cancer risk.
5. Some foods have high anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Some foods are the opposite. Eat in a way that will promote a healthy lifestyle.”
• Joanne Wu, an integrative and holistic medicine and rehabilitation physician who specializes in wellness, teaches yoga.
6. “We must strive to practice good self-care and make living longer and happier a bigger or equal issue in our lives more than risky ‘male-associated’ behaviors like smoking and drinking.
7. “Also, we can learn to reach out for support when stressed and depressed so we don’t feel the only way out is a painful and shame based suicide. In some ways the [life expectancy] gap may be closing, and this is optimistic, yet we still cannot ignore the many issues men encounter regarding their physical, emotional and psychological health. Health is not just about longevity as defined by World Health Organization. Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
• Robert Giambrone, emergency physician at Rochester Regional Health and a certified life and success coach.