Thursday, 10 May 2012

Good news: men will live longer

Traditionally, men have been regarded as weaker sex in terms of life expectancy but this is something I did not quite accept as a medical student.

One year we had to spend a period of several weeks in general practice. I chose to go to one of the far away British islands. There I stayed with a couple, both doctors. Husband was in active practice, wife decided that she would stay at home. She told me she only became a doctor so she could prove that she too as a woman could do it but had no desire to practice medicine.

One day, in between the visits to the patients, her husband asked why was there a difference in heart attacks between men and women and I replied I did not really know and it could be something to do with life stresses. This infuriated him so much that he picked me by the lapels of my coat and shouted at me: "Don't you think it is something to do with sex hormones?"

I decided to leave my assignment and took the first flight to London.

Once in London I told what happened to my prospective parents in law both doctors and who had two GP surgeries where they trained doctors. They would not take me on for my GP practice experience. Their surgery was literally down the road from where I lived.

I had the problem finding a surgery that would take me on with such radical views and only with some difficulty and after several rejections I found somebody one.

Now, thirty years later,  Professor Leslie Mayhew, a statistician at City University believes that many men have improved their lifestyles and have moved from risky behaviours. Fewer men smoke and lung cancer rates have decreased.

Although heart attacks rates are still higher in men treatment has become easier.

British women's life expectancy is also increasing but at a slower rate.

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