Crisis in Men's Health

Men die more than women at all ages. This has Macroeconomic impact since almost half the population (the male half) is the highest-earning part of the work force.

The data are not news, but this is a good article with clear statistics.

A silent crisis in men’s health gets worse

Across the life span – from infancy to the teen years, midlife and old age – boys and men are more likely to die than girls and women

By [Tara Parker-Pope] and Caitlin Gilbert, The Washington Post, April 17, 2023

Across the life span — from infancy to the teen years, midlife and old age — the risk of death at every age is higher for boys and men than for girls and women. The result is a growing longevity gap between men and women. In the United States, life expectancy in 2021 was 79.1 years for women and 73.2 years for men. That 5.9-year difference is the largest gap in a quarter-century…

For instance, for years the widely held belief in medical circles was that women used too many health-care resources compared to men. As a result, men were viewed as the standard for seeking health care, while women were often dismissed as hysterical or “anxious” when they sought care.

“We used to think women were overutilizing health care, and men were doing it correctly,” Griffith said. “What we realized was that women were doing it better, mostly for preventive care, and men were actually underutilizing health care.”… [end quote]

The article describes several factors that impact men worse than women. Stoicism, risk-taking, reluctance to go to the doctor and more.

I see all of these in my 70 year old Ph.D. husband, who still smokes even though he has moderate COPD. (His smoking father died of COPD at age 65.) When I made an appointment for him with a pulmonologist, he threw a coffee cup against the wall (shockingly atypical) and refused to go. If I don’t feed him nutritious meals he will either skip eating or eat frozen dinners even though he is a good cook. He did cooperate with going for Covid shots together because I made a good case that Covid would be fatal for him. He also cooperated with getting a low-dose spiral CT scan for lung cancer but I have to make the appointments. He can be stubborn.

It’s not surprising that men often die in the year after their wife does unless they remarry within a year. The same is not true for women who are widowed, even though the financial hit is usually harder.

I hope that all METARs will use this information to take good care of their health.



The old “you can take a horse to water but can’t make him drink”.

I applaud you for your efforts on his behalf… and have to say his response and approach to health is incomprehensible to me. I get annual general check ups and annual skin check ups (lost a non-related niece to melanoma… made me more aware!) and I’m working on getting weight and physical strength to appropriate levels because I want to be able to function well in the life I have. Why would anyone NOT do this if they know better? Got me…

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.


Good article. That is another reason why I delayed my social security withdrawals. If the higher wage earner is male, the surviving spouse gets the full survivor’s benefit at no additional cost. SS is actuarially neutral for the worker, but there is a 72 percent chance that one of the two will live past the wage earner’s break even point, and a good chance it will be the female.


I understand that one wants a catchy headline, but ‘crisis’ would seem to be the wrong word for something that has always existed. None of the following definitions fit.

crisis - noun

  1. a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger
  2. a time when a difficult or important decision must be made
  3. the turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death



“the turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death”

@DrBob2 the problem with men’s health meets this definition since the improvement in life expectancy suddenly dropped.

Life expectancy at birth for males in 2021 was 73.2 years, representing a decline of 1.0 year from 74.2 years in 2020.



I would wager for every man who carries on like Wendy’s DH, there is a woman who is morbidly obese.

Nothing new under the sun department, wrt relative mortality: Classic scene from “It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World” which I saw in the theater, when it was new, in 1963.


Maybe. But it isn’t relevant. Today it is [still] socially acceptable for women, mostly wives, to “nag” men, usually their husband, about getting adequate medical care. But it is not acceptable to encourage obese people to lose weight, especially not obese women, and especially not coming from a male!

My wife has done this to me. Mostly with success.



Found myself doing that. Finally realized I gotta find out what this chest pain is. We know know it isn’t the heart. Probably acid reflux but chronic nature of it might mean there is something serious going on. So endoscopy planned while I am under they will do a colonoscopy. First in 12 years.

Huberman labs had podcast on longevity. He pointed out that most men will die with colon cancer and prostate cancer, but it is mostly irresponsibility that causes them to die from colon cancer or prostate cancer.

He is also pointed out that the survival rate after a femur break is only 30 percent for one year. So the ladder in your garage is truly a hazard to your health.



We live in a single story home next to a forest. I decided to let someone else clean my gutters due to the risk of falling off a ladder… been there, done that… and it would probably be much more painful/hazardous at 70 than at 35.

Probably should give away the ladder while I’m at it so I’m not tempted.

I’m perfectly willing to do hard work or take on difficult challenges… but I try to balance risk and reward. So, I’m getting in shape for hiking up another 14er in Colorado. That’s definitely hard. For me, anyway.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose


Multiple ladders here, going back to an old wooden orchard ladder that was my Dads, to a collection of my own over the years. Werner or equivalent, 300# rated, used to have wooden ladders, got rid of them, same with aluminum as well… Used to take the Echo car blower on the roof, blow out the gutters, etc… No more, stopped maybe a decade ago, it’s a matter of age for sure, occasional falls on the ground, tripping on this or that, but mostly the lack of confidence in my own stability, balance. Stopped riding that XT500 in the shop, too, same thing, slower reaction times, so when I flunked the DMV M/C add-on test, twice, I took it as a sign, let it get dusty…

Old friend, a barber over on the Sonoma Square, loaned a neighbor a 6’ ladder, years ago. Fellow messed up, fell, feet/foot hung up on the upper steps, he bashed his head onto the concrete, died. Widow sued my friend, it got nasty… So no loaning of tools, give them away, no problem, do it myself, but it’s not so easy any more… Tools, ladders are getting dusty…

Replaced the roof, new gutters, gutter guards, just write that check, done…

What to do with all of the ladders, tools is a problem… Flea market maybe…But a lot are telecom related, not a lot of need for them in todays world…

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Do Cologuard. It’s easy. Had to laff when I did it last month. Walked into the local UPS store with the box, and the clerk recognized the box the moment I walked in. Said to put it in one of the boxes on the opposite wall. On that wall, I found a hand lettered sign “Cologuard test kits”, and a couple boxes laying on the floor.

PSA antigen test is a routine part of the bloodwork my doc orders.

Medicare covers all of it.

Steve…worked too hard, too long, to let retirement be cut short by something that could have been mitigated


Habitat for Humanity is happy to take them if you have one in your area. That’s our primary “give away” destination these days.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose


Ah. So the crisis part is the decline in life expectancy. AFAIK, women have always lived longer than men. For example, from 1900:
white men, 46.6 years
white women, 48.7 years


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On there is a good podcast (along with lots of other good links) from Dr Attia on Portfolio & Longevity

There’s your problem right there. Marriage AND a PhD.

I’ve always said that, if you want a bloke to do as he’s told, you don’t go marrying him. We have our 45th wedding anniversary coming up in a few weeks, I’m still getting validation that hypothesis every day. Plus he’s a PhD…and would probably be a bit more like your husband if it wasn’t tempered by also being an MD with half a century of experience at the bedside as well as the laboratory bench/library shelf/computer chair. I’m only half joking here.

There’s a problem sometimes with smart people (and there’s no denying that a PhD can denote smartness, albeit in a **limited field) in that they oftentimes don’t recognise where their own smartness ends and someone else’s begins. Even worse, being adept at defending their own…oftentimes novel…concept, there’s a greater confidence than is warranted when assessing all novel concepts.

I’m just giving your husband (and PhDs in general :wink:) the benefit of the doubt, here because I’ve put a lot of thought over the years as to why smart people believe non-smart ideas …or act in non-smart ways. Even when the evidence is irrefutable (yes, people with toothache do argue the toss over causes of tooth decay!)

** re: the “limited field” . The day my husband defended his PhD thesis, he mentioned over dinner that right now, he probably knew more about the subject matter (The Origin of Circulating Serum Trypsin in Man) than anyone else. “I don’t doubt it,” sez I “and you’re probably the only one who cares”.


This list seems both comprehensive and plausible:

  • take bigger risks.
  • have more dangerous jobs.
  • die of heart disease more often and at a younger age.
  • be larger than women.
  • commit suicide more often than women.
  • be less socially connected..
  • avoid doctors.

Sometimes ‚inferior diet‘ and ‚higher metabolism’ is also mentioned.

As a minor consolation for the ones who make it, the article offers ‚when a man moves into a residential setting dominated by the geriatric set, he tends to be popular; and that’s especially true if he still drives.‘


Those numbers are the result of infant mortality - the best numbers to compare would be life expectancy at the age of 22 - weeding out childhood diseases and youth imbecility. What do those numbers show?



@JimA759s life expectancy data is available from the CDC, the Census and the IRS in tables (pdf files). The age of 22 isn’t relevant for most METARs. Since DH and I are both around age 70, that’s the line I am interested in.

According to the CDC, a 70-year old non-Hispanic white man can expect 13.6 more years of life while a 70-year old non-Hispanic white woman can expect 15.7 more years of life. Of course, that is a population average. As in all “big data,” it only applies to the entire population, not to individuals. If a person is already sick and/or comes from a short-lived family their life expectancy will probably be diminished, while a healthy person from a long-lived family can probably expect more years.

There are also racial differences, with Asians having the longest life expectancy and American Indian/ Alaska Native (AIAN) having the shortest. All races declined between 2019 and 2021 (the Covid epidemic) with the Asian decline being minor and the AIAN being the greatest - a shocking decrease in life expectancy at birth of 7.1 years for non-Hispanic AIAN males.

The big drop in life expectancy during Covid was due to huge Covid deaths and also unintentional injuries, especially among men (do-it-yourselfers stuck at home falling off ladders?) but it was actually offset by a huge decrease in the expected number of deaths from influenza since the stringent control measures taken against Covid basically canceled the expected annual flu epidemic.

Data from Vital Statistics Rapid Release
Report No. 23  August 2022
Provisional Life Expectancy Estimates for 2021


One of the problems of looking at mortality figures for personal risk assessment and decision making… from whatever source and however you try to slice ‘n’ dice them … is that they miss out the really important factor of morbidity, and what it takes to get a person to a given age. In other words, individual input into maximizing healthspan along with lifespan and/or how much medical intervention it takes.

As solid as the points raised in the article are, it’s still a bit of an exercise in past tense thinking in the context of preventing preventable premature death. As valuable as early detection is, it’s a reality that the biomarkers that’re available really only measure late stage phenomenon…oftentimes after very obvious departures from healthy homeostasis have been ignored.

For instance, Derek Griffiths (nattering about equity in allocation of health resources and obviously a well educated chap) made the mistake of including his photograph in the article. This is not the picture of a man doing everything in his power to avoid becomng one of those age-adjusted mortality statistics for black men.

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A few years ago, an occasional poster on the old H&N board posted a book (and podcast) report on this very topic (departure from healthy homeostasis) The book is definitely worth a read (library get, rather than purchase). I’d already begun my subscription to Peter Attia’s site but hadn’t yet gotten round to listening to the interview…which was even better than the book and that’s not always the case.