NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Ask any guy and they’ll tell you that men are the stronger sex, but in medical terms they are most definitely weaker.
As CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez explained, it’s partly due to men not being very communicative.
There are many reasons why men don’t do as well as women when it comes to most health outcomes; some are biological, and some are social, but most doctors said men just don’t tell them their family history or symptoms.
As a teenager, Pedro Dumper developed a condition which — if not surgically corrected — would cause him to become infertile.
Even though it’s an issue that most teenage boys would be reluctant to bring up, he knew he could approach his father.
“If I hadn’t talked to them a long time ago, right now it would already be too late,” he said.
“I always try to create this open atmosphere at home to talk about everything, not only health,” Wander Almeida said.
But Pedro and his father are the exception rather than the rule.
A new national survey by Orlando Health found that young women are 90 percent more likely to talk to relatives, not only about sexual health, but also things like cancer and mental illness. That reluctance to talk often extends to discussions with doctors.
“I’m not surprised at all because I see it every day in my office. Guys that waited way too long to come see us,” Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt said.
Experts said that partly accounts for the gender gap between men’s and women’s health — on average women live 5 years longer than men, overall mortality is 41 percent higher for men, and mortality is higher for 8 of the 10 leading causes of death.
It’s a problem that’s led doctors from Orland Health to launch ‘Mission Manhood’ to get men to take an important first step in making their health a priority.
“What I realized in the past four years doing the Drive 4 Men’s Health, is that it’s okay to talk,” Dr. Brahmbhatt said.
“I think that’s when people start to feel or hear about what their friends are doing and what other guys are doing,” Dr. Sijo Parekattil added.
Their message is that really truthful health conversations among male relatives, and with doctors are especially important.
“If they see dad opening up and talking about these issues then, you know, I think it makes them a lot more comfortable,” Dr. Parekattil said.
Women are often the gatekeepers of their family’s health, but getting a man to the doctor is only the first step, getting him to talk about what’s bothering him is just as important.
“It’s not difficult, just try it. Take the first step, and you’ll see how easy it will flow,” Almeida said.
Many men don’t go or don’t talk because they don’t want to hear bad news, but the news only gets worse if you wait.