‘Too Many Dying Too Young’: Paramedics Urge Men to Take Care of Their Health

Heart disease is the number one killer of Australian men.
‘Too Many Dying Too Young’: Paramedics Urge Men to Take Care of Their Health
Australian men tend to self-monitor their symptoms and seek information independently prior to attending a health service. (fizkes/Shutterstock)
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Australian men are being urged to make their health a priority as data from Victoria’s emergency service showed 50 die each day from preventable causes.

Ambulance Victoria’s (AV) paramedics said this International Men’s Health Week is about educating men on how to look out for their health and that being healthy is about more than being physically fit.

“Too many Australian men are dying too young,” said Anthony Carlyon, AV Executive Director Operational Communications, in a media release on June 11.
In 2022, Australian males experienced more of their total disease burden due to dying prematurely (54 percent) than from living with ill health (46 percent), data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) revealed. For females, it’s the opposite.
Heart disease is the number one killer of Australian men. Coronary heart disease alone accounted for 10,371 (12 percent) deaths in 2021, which was double the death rate of women, according to the Heart Research Institute.

Men Urged Not To Ignore Symptoms

Australian men tend to self-monitor their symptoms and seek information independently prior to attending a health service. Older men are less likely to attend a dedicated men’s health service than younger, healthier men.
A 2018 study published by BMC Public Health noted that men “have shorter consultations, see the GP later during their illness, leave significant health issues unattended, and are more likely to somatise emotional problems when compared to women.”

Andrew Keenan, AV Director Patient Safety and Experience, encouraged men to address their health issues in a timely manner.

“We lose too many men from ignoring their symptoms so this Men’s Health Week, make your health a priority and get a check-up,” he said.

“Many heart attacks and strokes can be prevented through healthy behaviours like eating a heart-healthy diet, being active, maintaining a healthy weight, and being smoke-free.”

It only takes 20 minutes to do a heart health check and assess risks of suffering a heart attack or stroke in the next five years, he added.

Cancer Another Silent Killer

Meanwhile, another AIHW report showed the highest proportion of ill health and death for males in 2022 were due to cancer (19 percent), cardiovascular diseases (14 percent), mental health conditions/substance use disorders (11 percent), injuries (11 percent), and musculoskeletal conditions (11 percent).

Males were more likely than females to experience injuries, kidney and urinary diseases, cardiovascular diseases, endocrine disorders (mostly diabetes), infant and congenital conditions, and cancer.

In 2022, there were around 89,000 new cancer cases in males of all ages, with prostate cancer being the most common diagnosis, followed by melanoma of the skin, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer.

Alarmingly, one in three Australian males are diagnosed with cancer by the age 75, and one in two by age 85.

Men’s Suicide And Mental Health

Meanwhile, for males aged 15-44, suicide and self-inflicted injuries were the leading cause of total burden, followed by alcohol use.

It is crucial for men to take their mental and emotional wellbeing just as seriously as physical health, said AV Director Emergency Management Justin Dunlop.

“For men under the age of 55, suicide is the leading cause of death and one in two men will experience some sort of mental health disorder in their lifetime,” Mr. Dunlop said.

“Mental health concerns are very common and it’s vital that men reach out for help as well as ask their mates, coworkers and family members if they’re ok.”

Mateship is another crucial factor in living longer, healthier lives.

A factsheet by Australian Men’s Health Forum, the peak body for the men’s health sector, revealed one in four men have no good mates and that having no mates is “as unhealthy as 15 smokes a day.”

Men could benefit significantly from staying in contact with old mates, meeting new mates, and building strong friendships, the group noted.

Men’s Health Week is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2024 and runs from June 10 to June 16.

Mensline 1300 78 99 78
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
Nina Nguyen is a reporter based in Sydney. She covers Australian news with a focus on social, cultural, and identity issues. She is fluent in Vietnamese. Contact her at [email protected].
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