10 things you didn’t know about men’s health

It’s Movember and we’re celebrating men’s health and wellbeing. But what is Movember? It is the charity movement dedicated to changing the face of men’s health. The month-long Movember campaign brings together an international coalition of men who grow moustaches during November to raise awareness by shining a spotlight on men’s health issues. However, there are many things about men’s health and wellbeing that people don’t know, so here are 10 that may surprise you.

1. There is more to the ‘man flu’ than you may think

The Oxford dictionary defines the ‘man flu’ as ‘a cold or similar minor ailment as experienced by a man who is regarded as exaggerating the severity of the symptoms.’ However, a study published by BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) showed that men have a weaker immune response to viral respiratory viruses, which could increase the severity of symptoms and length of time feeling ill (three days for men vs. 1.5 days for women). Furthermore, more men are hospitalised with the flu each year, and there are more male fatalities as a result of contracting this illness.

2. Men are less likely to visit their GP

There is a discrepancy between men and women in terms of their willingness to visit their GP. Men are more likely than women to develop an ‘Ostrich attitude’ towards their health. In fact, a study of 1,000 males (commissioned by Gillette in partnership with the Movember Foundation) showed that three quarters of men will put off visiting their GP despite experiencing symptoms of sickness. The key reasons given by the participants included lack of time and the view that visiting a health practitioner wasn’t important.

3. Men sweat more than women

According to research published in the Experimental Physiology journal, women must work harder than men to begin sweating, while males produce more sweat when they exercise. This is because women need to reach a higher body temperature than men to start sweating.

4. Men are at a higher risk of suicide than women

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 years old in the UK, with 75% of all suicides being male according to a report carried out on behalf of the Samaritans. In fact, it’s estimated that on average 12 men a day kill themselves in Britain. Males aged between 45 and 49 have the highest suicide rate, and the main causes include:

  • Lack of support
  • Relationship breakdowns
  • Loss of loved ones through disease / trauma
  • Mental health problems
  • History of sexual and/or physical abuse
  • Debilitating / painful illnesses
  • Social isolation and loneliness
  • Substance abuse
  • Financial problems / unemployment

5. Men have more bone mass than women

Men generally have larger skeletons than women and on average gain bone mass until they reach their 30s. Their peak bone mass is higher than women, meaning they have a lesser risk of developing osteoporosis – a condition that affects the bones and can cause them to become weak.

You can have your bone density checked from just £59 as part of our Base Home Test Kit.

6. Men can lose weight faster than women

Because of their body composition, men have more muscle, store less fat, and have a greater metabolic rate than women. Thus, when men start exercising and having a healthier diet, they lose weight at a faster rate because their bodies are already primed to burn more calories. In fact, a study published in the Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism journal showed that of 2,000 overweight adults being put on the same weight loss diet, men lost an average of 26 lbs in comparison to 22 lbs for women.

7. Men are more likely to get cancer than women

According to Cancer Research UK, cancer is the second biggest killer of men in the UK, with 21.9% of all deaths being down to cancer. Men have been found to be 40% more likely to die from cancer than women and are 16% more likely to get cancer in their lifetime.

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in men in the United Kingdom, accounting for over a quarter of male cases. You can refer to our prostate cancer guide for more information about this type of cancer.

Our Male Cancer Risk test is suitable for Men over 40 who wish to check on their relevant readings.

8. Men have a lower life expectancy, but the gap is closing

According to the ONS, women in the UK have a life expectancy of 82.9 years old, whereas men are expected to live only until 79 years old on average. However, a statistical analysis of life expectancy in England and Wales since 1950 pointed towards a complete closure of this gap by the year 2023, with men and women expected to both have an average life expectancy of 87.5 years.

9. Men are more likely to get a heart attack than women

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of deaths in men in the UK. In fact, over 4 million men in the UK currently live with a heart or circulatory disease in the UK. It was also recorded that 119,000 men have heart attack each year (in comparison with 69,000 women).

If you would like to find out more about your heart health and how to test it, you can refer to our cardiovascular testing guide.

10. Men are more likely to get sunburns and skin cancer

According to Melanoma UK, men can be more prone to skin cancer than women due to a number of reasons including the fact that men spend more time outside during the day and typically take less protective measures than women (such as wearing sunscreen) due to denial or lack of knowledge about the risks of sun exposure.

However, men aged 15-39 years old are 55% more likely to die of melanoma than women. Therefore, it is important that men routinely wear sunscreen when they spend time outdoors and carefully check the skin on their face, neck and back for any changes or abnormalities.