Boys born today are more than 20% more likely to die of a heart attack and almost 30% more likely to develop diabetes than girls. Photo / 123RF
A boy born today lives nearly four years more than a girl born in the next room. One in four does not live to retire. What is the biggest murderer of kiwi men? And what can we do about it? At Men’s Health Week, Jamie Morton looks at four nasty stats.
Prostate cancer: 1 in 8 diagnosed men
Although it may not be the most deadly cancer in men, the prostate remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer, with about one in eight kiwi men developing the prostate in their lifetime. increase.
Each year, Kiwi learns that more than 3000 men have it – about 80 percent of the diagnoses are among men over the age of 60 – and about 600 die from it.
The incidence of prostate cancer is increasing in New Zealand (mainly due to better results from early diagnosis and improved treatments available), but the cause is not yet fully understood.
Unlike other cancers such as lung cancer and smoking, there seems to be no clear and specific steps men can take to prevent prostate cancer.
But what is clear is that men are much more likely to succeed in treatment if they are diagnosed early.
Peter Dickens, CEO of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, said it was important for men with prostate cancer to tell their families about it.
“If you have a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you are twice as likely to be at risk of illness as someone in the general population,” he said.
Prostate cancer often does not cause symptoms until the symptoms have progressed significantly (usually found after seeking treatment for urinary function problems), so doctors are over 50 years old, or 40 if they have a family. The need for men over the age cannot be fully emphasized. Take history, test.
And all of these tests, whether PSA, physical exam or ultrasound, are painless, easy and easy to get started.
“Every year you go to see a health expert and check out, just as you get a guarantee of your car’s health.”
Heart disease: 20% more likely
One in three of us die of a heart attack or stroke. And men born today are 20% more likely to die of heart disease than women.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death, followed by strokes that occur when arteries in the brain are occluded or leaked, and here it is the leading cause of disability in adults.
According to the latest research, men are at higher risk of stroke than women, and more than 170,000 Kiwis suffer from heart disease every day.
Some of the most common types of heart disease, coronary artery disease or risk factors for CAD are inevitable-and these range from age and ethnicity to family history.
But I think many other factors-smoking, obesity, hypercholesterolemia and blood pressure, and lack of exercise-are certainly preventable.
Another major danger is diabetes. Perhaps one in four kiwis is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Again, experts tell us that lifestyle changes can help prevent or delay its onset.
Jerry Devlin, a cardiologist and medical director of the Heart Foundation, said that heart disease mortality in New Zealand was about 75 from the peak of one in two Kiwis smoking in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Said that it fell by%.
Still, the rate wasn’t low enough, given that the annual number of hospitalizations for heart attacks wasn’t well below the new baseline of about 15,000 in the last decade.
“New Zealanders may live longer, but we live longer with heart disease and other illnesses, so I think it’s important to be aware of it and deal with it.”
The reason why men seem to be more at risk has not been simple. Lifestyle characteristics were also known, although biology may be a factor.
“For me, blood pressure is what we really need to do well,” Devlin said.
“1 million New Zealanders live with high blood pressure. 5mm [by Hg] When systolic blood pressure drops, the chances of a heart attack or stroke are reduced by 10%.
“It’s a pretty powerful intervention, no matter how you achieve it, depending on your lifestyle or medication.”
If you have a family history of heart disease, or if you are older than a certain age, you should have regular heart and diabetes tests. 45 and 55 for men and women in Europe, 30 and 40 for men and women in Maori, Pacific and South Asia, respectively. Respectively.
Similarly, they need to check their blood pressure once a year: and know the signs of a heart attack.
Mental health: 444 lives lost
Sam O’Sullivan has seen the “worst case” of New Zealand’s mental health crisis.
While working as a clinical psychologist in an inpatient hospital, he noticed that the majority of patients were male – many of the women were victims of male violence.
“It’s pretty clear to me that there is a gender pattern, and when you’re at the deepest part of your mental health, you start thinking, why do these people appear?”
Again, mental health is not just a problem for men. Women in New Zealand are more likely to experience and report depression, anxiety, and mental distress.
However, men are less likely to recognize the problem and do something.
They tend to talk about physical signs of depression, such as always feeling tired, rather than talking about what they are experiencing.
They are also likely to take their lives. In 2020, 444 men were suspected of suicide due to suicide, compared to 147 women.
O’Sullivan said he was shocked to see men struggling with mental health problems passing through the health care system without sharing emotions, often instead choosing alcohol, anger, violence and other means. ..
The sense among men that they need to maintain masculinity was a common theme he saw in his work in this area, and also through his travel documentary series, Tough Talk.
“It’s a kind of humility about being a kiwi,” he said.
“They certainly don’t want to be considered weak, and partly because of this idea of success, they don’t want to be considered unattractive to their partners or potential partners.”
In sad contrast, the study linked the norms of male masculinity to higher mental health risks, alcoholism and violence.
One of the 2018 reports investigating high suicide rates in the construction sector is what the national program Mates in Construction is currently working on, identifying a culture of toxic masculinity.
O’Sullivan points out that Maori men, especially young men, also have higher suicide rates than other ethnic groups, and Pakeha needs to recognize and address how colonization played a detrimental role. I thought.
“We can improve some of those results-because we are all influenced by it.”
What can men do to improve their mental health?
Clinicians are encouraged to eat a balanced diet, stay active, avoid relying on drugs and alcohol, stay connected, and talk with loved ones. Perhaps the most important thing is to always seek help.
Life Expectancy: 73 Years for Maori Men
If you need to clearly remind yourself of the heavy health burdens of the Maori and Pacifica communities, the Covid-19 crisis has brought about it.
The disproportionate rate of coronavirus-related deaths is associated with Maori and Pacifica people and may require hospital-level care for Covid-19, even after considering age and pre-existing conditions. It was 2.5 times and 3 times higher, respectively.
Among men in particular, Maori men have a life expectancy of only 73 years, Pacific men have a life expectancy of 74.5 years, while non-Maori men have a life expectancy of about 80.3 years.
Cancer remains the leading cause of death, Maori men are 1.7 times more likely to die of cancer than non-Maori men, heart disease is the second leading cause of death, and Maori and Pacific men die 5 times. Occurs up to 15 years ago.
Overall, Maori are 2.5 times more likely to die of illnesses that may be prevented by timely and effective health care.
None of these horrifying statistics are quite surprising to Adrian Te Patu, the first indigenous people appointed to the Federation of World Public Health Associations.
“We know that 20-25% of the country’s population bears an unfair and unhealthy burden,” said Maori health advocates. “This is not a political statement.”
“It’s just the fact that Maori and Pacific men, in particular, are shorter and lead morbid lives than Pakeha’s cousins.”
The reasons for these disparities are complex and often go far beyond lifestyle factors.
People in Maori and the Pacific live with higher comorbidities, but also face inequity and structural racism within the healthcare system, as the Covid-19 vaccination rate shows. Insufficient access to care.
It is in addition to factors such as higher poverty, unemployment, poor education and poor housing.
Even today, Maori earn an average of two-thirds of Europe’s average income, but home ownership is less than half of the national average of more than 64%.
Given this, Te Patu did not blame many Maori for moving over Tasman to Australia. In Australia, we were able to earn higher incomes, enjoy better medical services and grow Tamariki in warmer and drier homes.
He thought he was worried that New Zealand would have to spend tens of millions of dollars on the treatment of preventable illnesses such as diabetes, which accounts for about 6% of Maori deaths.
But he added that arresting the root cause would take much longer than one or two political cycles.
“Better educational outcomes, better access to health care, warmer, drier homes-all of which will help.”