Both Sexes Make Mistakes in Caring for Health
WebMD takes aim at common health blunders men and women make.
Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario
We are besieged daily by health advice: Take this, eat that, don't do the other. Yet even the most health aware -- not to mention the doctor averse -- can make mistakes in caring for themselves.
Common Health Mistakes Men Make
The conventional wisdom says that the average man takes better care of his car than his body . "All male health blunders come from the essential male blunder, and that is the notion (many men have) that a real man is a man with no vulnerabilities," Terry Real, MSW, a family therapist and author in Watertown, Mass., tells WebMD
"Unless something is falling off," Larrian Gillespie, MD, a urologist in California, tells WebMD, "men won't go to the doctor."
Men have a shorter life expectancy compared with women, Real says, because they don't take care of themselves. "They don't recognize that they need help, they don't seek it, and when they do seek it, they don't do what the doctor days." The bottom line, Real says, is that men die. "I could call that a big blunder -- costly."
Men experience depression differently than women, says Real, who is author of You're Not Crazy It's Your Hormones. "A woman knows she is depressed, feels the pain, asks for help. But even if a man knows what he is experiencing, he won't ask for help."
Some of the symptoms of depression include feeling sad, sleeping too little or too much, a drop in libido, and a feeling that nothing in life is giving pleasure.
"Many more men than women have what I call hidden depression," Real says. "It isn't as pronounced because they are doing everything they can to ward it off -- drinking, running around with women, lashing out and being irritable or even violent, or watching too much TV. Many health professionals will miss the signs."
Yet treatment of depression is a health success story. Real says that nine out of 10 people who seek some form of help report substantial relief. "The problem is, fewer than one in five will seek help."
Women Can Help
Real aims this message toward women, ironically. "Women get men to see that this is a chemical imbalance, biological and genetic, and thus there are medications that work. Depression is not moral weakness! There was also a time when men didn't get help for diabetes. Soon depression will be in that same routine category of treatment."
Some other health errors men tend to make: