Sunday 23 July 2017

Men dying four years younger than women despite health drives

While women can expect to live to 83.2, men lag behind at 78.7 years (Stock image)
While women can expect to live to 83.2, men lag behind at 78.7 years (Stock image)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Men's life expectancy is still four-and-a-half years fewer than women's, according to a new report.

While women can expect to live to 83.2, men lag behind at 78.7 years.

They also have higher death rates from heart disease and cancer.

The stark gender divide statistics are outlined in the HSE's Healthy Ireland Men 2017-2021 report, which sets out plans to improve their well-being.

Dr Noel Richardson, director of the National Centre for Men's Health at IT Carlow, said: "There is a strong rationale for maintaining a specific focus on men's health."

He pointed to issues such as sex differences in life expectancy and mortality and health inequalities between sub-populations of men.

Read more: One in three people over 50 spend between €1,000 and €2,499 a year on their health

He said initiatives such as Men's Health Week, Engage (National Men's Health Training Programme), Mojo, the Irish Men's Sheds 'Sheds for Life' Programme, the Engaging Young Men Project, Farmers Have Hearts and Men on the Move are examples of "ongoing best practice approaches to engaging men".

The report said many men had battled to cope with societal change, particularly during the recession.

Although unemployment rates are falling, joblessness remains a reality for many young men.

Access to affordable accommodation has become an increasing issue for a growing number of the population.

Increasing divorce rates and changes to family structures also pose challenges to men who are affected.

The latest report comes as figures show many rapid access clinics for men who are referred with suspected prostate cancer are not meeting targets.

Some 90pc of men who are referred should be seen in 20 days, but this is only being met for 60pc of patients.

Read more: We're living longer, but 'the good life' leaves us prone to serious illness

A rise in the number of men seeking a diagnosis and a lack of urologists in some areas are contributing to the delays.

A HSE spokeswoman said 61.6pc were seen within the target time in September.

She said that as a direct result of issues associated with meeting access performance indicators, a review was currently taking place with the primary goal of driving progressive and sustained improvement in the rapid access clinic.

She said it was planned to improve the process, technology, facilities and human resources in each clinic.

The analysis will be completed this month and recommendations will begin in early 2017.

When detected early, prostate cancer survival rates are better than 98pc.

Irish Independent

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