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    Men's Top 5 Health Concerns

    Men die at higher rates than women for all of the top 10 causes of death. Why don't men take better care of their health?


    Stroke is the third leading killer in the country, after heart disease and all forms of cancer. The incidence rate of stroke is 1.25 times greater in men than in women, although there is really no difference between the sexes as people get older, according to the American Stroke Association.

    "We know that a very important risk factor for stroke is hypertension. The control of hypertension is a crucial factor to try to prevent the onset of stroke," says Burke.

    Other risk factors include:

    • Increasing age
    • Race. African-Americans have the greater risk than whites.
    • Gender. Stroke is more common in men than in women until age 75.
    • Personal history of stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA, or ministroke)
    • Diabetes
    • High cholesterol
    • Heart disease
    • Smoking, including secondhand smoke
    • Physical inactivity
    • Obesity
    • Alcohol and substance abuse

    In many ways, behaviors that can reduce the risk of stroke mirror those that can reduce risk of heart disease. "We need to recognize that a healthy lifestyle -- dietary factors and exercise -- reduces the risk of people getting hypertension at all," says Burke.

    "It happens more commonly in the older folks, but it should never be viewed as inevitable, even in people with a family history of the disease," says Burke.

    Suicide and Depression

    Men are four times more likely to commit suicide compared to women, reports the MHN, which attributes part of the blame on underdiagnosed depression in men.

    William Pollack, PhD, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, agrees: "Men are more prone to suicide because they're less likely to openly show depression and have somebody else recognize it early enough to treat it, or to have themselves recognize that they're in trouble."

    According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 6 million men have depression each year. Pollack believes the number of males with depression could be even greater since men may show signs of depression in a manner different from many women.

    Instead of sadness, Pollack says depression may play out in the following ways in men:

    • Anger
    • Aggression
    • Work "burnout"
    • Risk-taking behavior
    • Midlife crisis
    • Alcohol and substance abuse

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