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Why Men's Lives Are Shorter Than Women's

A new book called "Why Men Die First" explains how men can close the longevity gap.

How Men Can Live Longer continued...

Legato says the current medical system often prevents doctors from obtaining a proper understanding of a patient's personality and life structure. Make time to discuss any such issues with a doctor and be open to treatment. "A pill is not always the cure," Legato says. "Structured conversations can be very helpful."

While Ruxin is not convinced that andropause is a genuine male concern, others are in sync with Legato's insights on male depression.

James Korman, PsyD, ACT, director of the Behavioral Health and Cognitive Therapy Center at Summit Medical Group in New Jersey, agrees that depression in men occurs far more often than reported. He also points to cultural factors as often influencing men's reluctance to get treatment.

"Men tend to express depression differently than women," Korman says. "This can result in sleep disturbances, mood change, and sexual disinterest."

Left untreated, depression can have catastrophic results.

Regarding suicide, Korman says that while women typically make more attempts, "men are much better at completing it."

Men need to realize, Legato says, how destructive depression can be to their health and openly discuss their concerns with a doctor.

"To enjoy the day and be as viable as possible in the present is the best attitude," she says.

5. Keep a close eye on young males: The reckless nature and lifestyle of adolescents make them prime targets for injury or death. Females develop a more evolved sense of judgment and decision making at an earlier age then males. Add to that the cocktail of testosterone and other hormones and, biologically, males possess a potentially lethal internal recipe. Monitoring their activities and setting careful limits is vital. "Boys have been compared to a Porsche without brakes," Legato says. "They take risks, are idealistic, intense, and believe they're invulnerable."

6.Assess your risk for coronary disease: Coronary disease, Legato says, "takes a toll on men in their prime and leaves families bereft." It's imperative to sit down and assess the risks along with any predisposed genetic tendency and discuss these with a doctor. Have any relatives died of heart disease before the age of 60? What are your cholesterol levels? Have you experienced fainting episodes, loss of consciousness, or shortness of breath?

"We downplay this tremendously," Legato says.

Again, men aren't genetically blessed compared to women in this area. The female hormone estrogen provides women with a layer of protection that men don't naturally possess, asserts Legato. Further illustrating this: Men can begin developing signs of coronary artery disease at the age of 35, Legato says, while women don't present a risk of a heart attack similar to men until much later. Men with a family history of heart disease should alert their doctor and take proper precautions beginning in their 30s.

"It doesn't have to be that way," Legato says. "We should be turning a very critical eye on why coronary disease starts in the mid-30s."

Reviewed on September 04, 2008

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