Why Men Don’t Live as Long as Women

It’s a well-known fact that on average, women live longer than men. If you’ve ever visited a facility catering to the elderly, you know this is indeed the case. That men die younger is a given, but determining why isn’t quite as simple. Men in general are often involved in more dangerous work situations and are more likely to take risks but much of the difference in life span can’t easily be explained only by these. So what other factors are at play?

From birds to humans, the answer is pretty much the same: testosterone. It’s complicated, of course. Both males and females have it but males obviously have it in much greater amounts. It’s essential for reproduction in both genders but the higher amounts in males has a high price, longevity-wise. It makes men more likely to suffer issues like heart attacks but can also lower immunity to diseases. It’s a double whammy.

Is there no hope for men? Yes and no. Obviously testosterone is necessary to ensure a species continues. Oddly enough, the historical record regarding eunuchs and others who were castrated  doesn’t show a significant difference in lifespan so that in itself isn’t the answer either. But human males may still have reason to hope. We’ve evolved to have much greater paternal roles in child rearing than pretty much any other animal. There is evolutionary pressure to live longer and to avoid some of the behaviors to contribute to earlier mortality. It won’t be enough to eliminate the gap with women but it is likely to shrink it. So we’ve got that going for us. Which is nice.

The biggest threat facing middle-age men isn’t smoking or obesity. It’s loneliness.

According to this, the biggest threat facing middle-age men is loneliness.

I don’t buy it. My alone time is something I not only cherish but need. Without it I feel drained, both emotionally and physically. To constantly have to deal with social interaction leaves me no time to recharge. Extroverted people, on the other hand, probably don’t feel this way and are more likely to feel the negative effects. I’m just not one of them.

You may not get to die as you wish

Every adult should have a will, a healthcare proxy and an advanced medical directive or living will. But there’s no guarantee that when your final days come healthcare providers will follow your wishes. There are a number of reasons for this, but money is a big factor.

End-of-life care is a pot of gold in our modern medical system. Spending on Medicare beneficiaries in their last year of life accounts for about 25 percent of all Medicare spending. In 2011, Medicare spending was almost $554 billion ? 28 percent of which was spent during patients’ last six months of life, according to Kaiser Health News.

My father’s last days weren’t as good as they could have been. The doctors gave us mixed messages, leading us to believe that his life could be extended despite the obvious signs that his body was giving up. But ultimately it became undeniable. Thanks to his healthcare proxy I was able to talk to the doctors and because of his living will I was able to make the decision to switch him to comfort care knowing that was exactly what he wanted.

Movember 2016

As I have been doing every November since 2013 I’m participating in Movember, growing a moustache to raise money for men’s health. If you’d like to contribute go to http://mobro.co/tommaszerowski.

My dad was still alive when I started in 2013 but was still in the hospital. He would bounce from there to a rehab center and back again until finally passing in January of 2014. Although he was 92, his death came earlier than it should have because he delayed in getting the proper care. If I can get even one guy to go to the doctor when something initially seems wrong I will have considered this a success.

My approach this year is a little different than what I’ve done in the past. I’ve seen criticism of Movember as just a stunt to get yourself attention and that bothered me. I don’t like attention and I really have to force myself to do Movember and communicate on a regular basis. Nevertheless what I’m posting is mostly about health issues and I’m cutting back on the selfies to keep the focus on what it should be on.

The Quest to Make a True Blue M&M

In the last couple of years a number of the big packaged food companies have started an effort to remove artificial dyes from their products. This sounds like a pretty good deal, right? For consumers it certainly is but the food companies it’s been a difficult task.

One of the big advantages of using artificial dyes is their predictability, something lacking from dyes made from natural sources. Particularly difficult is the color blue, which is rare in nature to being with. Candy company Mars has spent years developing a blue M&M based on natural blue dye and they’re still at it.

Burnout: Minds turned to ash

We may think that job-related burnout is a modern affliction, but it’s been a recognized condition since the ancient Greeks and is mentioned in the Old Testament. Still, there’s something about modern life that causes more of us to be affected by it.

A walk in the country or a week on the beach should, theoretically, provide a similar sense of relief. But such attempts at recuperation are too often foiled by the nagging sense of being, as one patient put it, “stalked” by the job. A tormenting dilemma arises: keep your phone in your pocket and be flooded by work-related emails and texts; or switch it off and be beset by unshakeable anxiety over missing vital business. Even those who succeed in losing the albatross of work often quickly fall prey to the virus they’ve spent the previous weeks fending off.

Burnout increases as work insinuates itself more and more into every corner of life – if a spare hour can be snatched to read a novel, walk the dog or eat with one’s family, it quickly becomes contaminated by stray thoughts of looming deadlines. Even during sleep, flickering images of spreadsheets and snatches of management speak invade the mind, while slumbering fingers hover over the duvet, tapping away at a phantom keyboard.

One reason it’s different now is our always-on connection to the Internet, social media and apps that measure our steps, calories and sleep. As the article says, “The burnt-out case of today belongs to a culture without an off switch.”

Geri Tayor Is Living With Alzheimer’s

At age 69 Geri Taylor realized that the little memory lapses were more than just the vagaries of aging when she could no longer recognize her own face in the mirror.

For most, the path of Alzheimer’s takes eight to ten years but for each the way is slightly different. But no matter how determined someone might be in the beginning, the disease will eventually have its way.