Biological, social and behavioural factors have led to differences in the most common causes of health problems faced by men and women. Men die younger than women and bear a greater burden of disease throughout their lives. They get sick at a younger age and have illnesses that last longer than women. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and depression are the top male killers. However, men also face male-specific issues such as prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Heart disease comes in many forms. All its manifestations can lead to serious and fatal complications if they are not noticed. One in three adult men has some form of cardiovascular disease. Hypertension and stroke are also common in men under the age of 45. Lifestyle modification and routine medical checkups can help manage heart-related risks, as your doctor can calculate your risk for cardiovascular disease based on several risk factors, including cholesterol, blood pressure and smoking habits.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in men after heart disease. Skin, prostate, colon and lung cancers are among the most commonly diagnosed cancers in men. The combination of a healthy lifestyle and regular checkups ensures that disease stays at bay. Regularly applying sunscreen, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and reducing red meat consumption all help reduce the risk of cancer.
Diabetes usually sets in without showing any signs. It raises blood sugar levels and eventually passes into the urine. Increased urination and thirst are the first visible signs of diabetes. High glucose acts like a slow poison on blood vessels and nerves throughout the body. Heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney failure and amputations are the consequences for many men.
If left untreated, diabetes causes nerve and kidney damage, increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, causes vision problems and blindness. Men with diabetes are also at risk for lower testosterone levels and sexual impotence, which in turn can lead to increased depression or anxiety.
Mental Health and Depression
Depression in men can go unnoticed because the symptoms don't always match what they expect. Men sometimes experience depression as anger or irritability rather than sadness. They are also more likely to sweep these feelings under the rug.
It is often believed that depression affects women far more than men. In fact, it may be a tendency for men to hide feelings of depression, or to present them differently than women. When it comes to mental health issues like anxiety and depression, men are reluctant to seek help, which significantly increases the risk of suicidal behaviour. Given the stigma associated with mental health problems, especially among men, it is crucial to dispel misconceptions and make therapy more available to those in need.
The most common cause of erectile dysfunction is atherosclerosis, the same condition that causes stroke and heart attack. In fact, having ED usually indicates that blood vessels throughout the body are not in good condition. Erectile dysfunction is considered by doctors to be an early risk symptom of cardiovascular disease. Although erectile dysfunction is not a life-threatening condition, it does indicate a serious health problem.
Erectile dysfunction affects two thirds of men over the age of 70 and up to 39 per cent of men under the age of 40. Men with erectile dysfunction are less happy and more likely to be depressed.
The bad news is that the average man pays less attention to his health than the average woman. The good news is that men can be healthy by taking control of their lifestyle. Whether it's eating better, quitting bad habits like smoking, or getting regular check-ups, here are some steps you can take to prevent common health problems in men of all ages. Whatever health issues you face, you can take control of your well-being by taking preventative and proactive measures today. (Agency)
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Sydney: Young men with a poor diet saw a significant improvement in their symptoms of depression when they switched to a healthy Mediterranean diet, a new study has shown.
Mediterranean diet, which consists of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, and grains, caused significant impact on young men's mental health.
According to researchers from the University of Technology Sydney, the study is the first randomised clinical trial to assess the impact of a Mediterranean diet on the symptoms of depression in young men aged 18-25.
The team conducted a 12-week randomised control trial, where the men were asked to switch to foods rich in colourful vegetables, legumes and wholegrains, oily fish, olive oil and raw, unsalted nuts from their regular as well as fast foods.
The findings, published in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggested that doctors should recommend patients to a nutritionist or dietician as part of their treatment plan, the researchers said.
"The primary focus was on increasing diet quality with fresh wholefoods while reducing the intake of 'fast' foods, sugar and processed red meat," said researcher Jessica Bayes, a candidate in the UTS Faculty of Health.
"There are lots of reasons why scientifically we think food affects mood. For example, around 90 per cent of serotonin, a chemical that helps us feel happy, is made in our gut by our gut microbes.
"There is emerging evidence that these microbes can communicate to the brain via the vagus nerve, in what is called the gut-brain axis," Bayes said.
"The results showed that nearly all our participants stayed with the programme, and many were keen to continue the diet once the study ended, which shows how effective, tolerable and worthwhile they found the intervention," the researchers said.
The study "suggests that medical doctors and psychologists should consider referring depressed young men to a nutritionist or dietitian as an important component of treating clinical depression", she said. (Agency)
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It has been traditionally said that exercising is more beneficial during morning hours. Turns out, the effectiveness of exercise depends on sex, according to a study.
The study, published in Frontiers in Physiology, showed that for women doing exercise during the morning hours is more beneficial for health and for men the optimal time is evening.
While exercise during any time helped females to reduce their total body fat, abdominal and hip fat, and blood pressure, these improvements were greater in morning-exercising women.
On the contrary, only evening-exercising in men showed a decrease in their ratio of total to HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, respiratory exchange ratio, and carbohydrate oxidation, as fat became the preferred fuel source, the study revealed.
"Here we show for the first time that for women, exercise during the morning reduces belly fat and blood pressure, whereas evening exercise in women increases upper body muscular strength, power, and endurance, and improves overall mood and nutritional satiety," said Dr Paul J Arciero, Professor at the Health and Human Physiological Sciences Department of Skidmore College in New York.
"We also show that for men, evening exercise lowers blood pressure, the risk of heart disease, and feelings of fatigue, and burns more fat, compared to morning exercise," he added.
For the study, the team recruited 30 women and 26 men to participate. All were between 25 and 55 years old, healthy, highly active, nonsmokers, and with normal weight, who were trained over 12 weeks at different times of the day.
The researchers show that all participants improved in overall health and performance over the course of the trial, irrespective of their allocation to morning or evening exercise.
"Our study clearly demonstrates the benefits of both morning and evening multimodal exercise to improve cardiometabolic and mood health, as well as physical performance outcomes in women and men," said Arciero.
But crucially, they also showed that exercise time of day determines the strength of improvements in physical performance, body composition, cardiometabolic health, and mood.
"Based on our findings, women interested in reducing belly fat and blood pressure, while at the same time increasing leg muscle power should consider exercising in the morning. However, women interested in gaining upper body muscle strength, power and endurance, as well as improving overall mood state and food intake, evening exercise is the preferred choice," said Arciero.
"Conversely, evening exercise is ideal for men interested in improving heart and metabolic health, as well as emotional wellbeing." (Agency)
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London: Women with asthma who are going through puberty, pregnancy or are menstruating, are at higher risk of severe asthma attacks and deaths due to the lung disease, according to a report.
The study conducted by a non-profit Asthma and Lung UK highlights that female hormones can trigger asthma flare-ups, BBC reported.
The findings calls for more research to examine the sex-related differences in the common lung condition.
Asthma is a condition in which the airways narrow, swell and may produce extra mucus, making breathing difficult. It is characterised by wheezing, breathlessness, tightness in chest, and coughing.
There are about 136 million women worldwide who suffer from asthma. The report showed that more than 5,100 women have died from an asthma attack, compared with under 2,300 men over the past five years in the UK.
It noted that many people were unaware that fluctuations in female sex hormones can cause asthma symptoms to flare up or even trigger life-threatening attacks.
"Asthma tends to be overlooked or dismissed," Dr Samantha Walker, director of research and innovation at Asthma and Lung UK, was quoted as saying.
In childhood, asthma is more prevalent and severe in boys. However, after puberty, the situation reverses, and asthma becomes more prevalent and severe among women, the report said.
The charity said the current "one size fits all" approach to asthma treatment is "not working" because it does not take into account the impact that female sex hormones during puberty, periods, pregnancy and menopause can have on asthma symptoms and attacks.
More must be done to tackle the "stark health inequality", it added.
"Gaps in our knowledge are failing women, leaving them struggling with debilitating asthma symptoms, stuck in a cycle of being in and out of hospital and in some cases, losing their lives," Sara Woolnough, chief executive of Asthma + Lung UK, was quoted as saying.
"There is not enough research into why women are more likely to be hospitalised and die from asthma and what treatments, new and existing, could help women," added Mome Mukherjee, researcher at the University of Edinburgh. (Agency)
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Toronto: Neurons in the spinal cord process pain signals differently in women compared to men, suggests a study.
The finding, published in the journal BRAIN, could lead to better and more personalised treatments for chronic pain, which are desperately needed, especially in light of the opioid epidemic.
Women are disproportionately impacted by the burden of chronic pain. They are more likely than men to report low back pain, neck pain, orofacial pain and neuropathic pain, and twice as many women report common migraines or headaches.
But to date, most research on pain was conducted on male rodents.
The new study led by researchers at The Ottawa Hospital in Canada, however, used female and male spinal cord tissue from both rats and humans (generously donated by deceased individuals and their families).
By examining the spinal cord tissue in the laboratory, the researchers were able to show that a neuronal growth factor called BDNF plays a major role in amplifying spinal cord pain signalling in male humans and male rats, but not in female humans or female rats.
When female rats had their ovaries removed, the difference disappeared, pointing to a hormonal connection.
"Developing new pain drugs requires a detailed understanding of how pain is processed at the biological level," said Dr. Annemarie Dedek, lead author of the study.
"This new discovery lays the foundation for the development of new treatments to help those suffering from chronic pain."
This is the first time a sex-related difference in pain signalling has been identified in human spinal cord tissue.
Future studies are required to understand how this biological difference may contribute to differences in pain sensation between men and women, the researchers said. (agency)
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London: Women are less likely to receive life-saving treatment for cardiogenic shock than men and thus, are more at risk of death, according to research.
Cardiogenic shock is a life-threatening condition in which the heart suddenly fails to pump enough blood to supply the body's organs with sufficient oxygen.
It is usually caused by a large heart attack. It is estimated that up to 10 per cent of patients with heart attacks affecting a large area of the heart also develop cardiogenic shock. Only half of the patients who experience cardiogenic shock will survive.
Researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark showed that significantly lower proportions of women received mechanical circulatory support (19 per cent women versus 26 per cent men), minimally invasive or surgical procedures to restore blood flow to blocked arteries (83 per cent women versus 88 per cent men), and mechanical ventilation (67 per cent women versus 82 per cent men).
Women were thus less likely than men to survive in the short- and long term. At 30 days after the heart event, just 38 per cent of women were alive compared with 50 per cent of men. At 8.5 years, 27 per cent of women were alive compared with 39 per cent of men.
"There is increasing evidence that women with acute heart problems are more likely than men to have non-specific symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, coughing, fatigue, and pain in the back, jaw or neck," said Dr Sarah Holle from the varsity.
"Increased recognition that women may have symptoms other than chest pain could minimise delays in diagnosis and treatment and potentially improve prognosis," she added.
The findings were presented at ESC Acute Cardiovascular Care 2022, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
A total of 1,716 heart attack patients with cardiogenic shock were enrolled in the study, of which 438 (26 per cent) were women. The average age of women was 71 years compared with 66 years for men.
"The findings indicate that greater awareness among health professionals that women have heart attacks and may develop cardiogenic shock could be a step towards equitable management and outcomes," Holle said. (Agency)
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