Reasons for The Growing Gender Disparity in Healthcare

Feb 01, 2021

In recent years, society seems to have forgotten about the men and boys in the name of female empowerment. This gender disparity is visible in most aspects of our modern society. One impact these actions have is the disparity in health between men and women. While it is true men enjoy senior positions in politics and other leadership roles, these benefits do are not reflected in healthcare.

Most health reforms and policies primarily focus on women’s health. This negligence of the male gender in the health sector has significantly contributed to the growing health complications affecting men. Some argue men suffer from these complications owing to their lifestyle and personal ignorance when it comes to health issues.

Reasons for the Health Gap

Baffled by our findings, we decided to research further to establish the reason for gender disparity in healthcare. In general, male stereotypes on masculinity are to blame for health disparity. After conducting extensive research, the following are some of the reasons for the disparity between men’s health and women’s health:

  • Men are significantly exposed to occupational hazards compared to women owing to the gendered nature of work normal in most countries. Men are expected to work under horrid conditions simply because society considers them the stronger gender, thus exposing them to occupational-related health risks.
  • Another reason is men are less likely to use health services compared to women. Our research found men usually put off doctor appointments even when ill. Similarly, compared to women, men rarely explain their symptoms to their doctor when in an appointment, creating room for the doctor underestimating the condition affecting them.
  • Men are known to enjoy participating and enjoying risky behavior. For instance, a survey involving questioning a thousand Russian men showed that excessive alcohol consumption, more so the spirits, was associated with dominance and higher social standing among peers for men. This risky behavior exposes men to health issues like cancer and liver cirrhosis.
  • Another reason for the health gap is policy silence among key stakeholders and influential health institutions. The reasoning behind this is that men are capable of taking care of themselves. However, there are a few key groups that have identified this issue and come up with suggestions on how to remedy the issue.

Common Health Complications Affecting Men

There are certain health issues that commonly affect men. As stated earlier, men are prone to these diseases owing to society’s negligence of the male gender during health reforms and policy implementations. These health issues are easily managed if identified early. Below are some of the common diseases affecting men and their risk factors:

    • Cancer

Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases in the 21st century affecting men. The disease is considered a lifestyle disease since it occurs as a result of the lifestyle choices we make. Some of the common risk factors for cancer include; high-fat diet, obesity, excessive intake of alcohol, lack of exercise, and a low fiber diet.

    • Heart disease

This refers to a medical condition characterized by having blood clots, diseased vessels, and structural problems of your heart. The risk factors include; obesity, high blood pressure, smoking cigarettes, aging, high cholesterol levels in your bloodstream, family history, being physically inactive, and diabetes.

    • Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a health complication that is characterized by having weak and brittle bones. Although the disease mostly affects women, recent trends have shown men are at a high risk of contracting the disease too. Risk factors include; low calcium intake, family history, physical inactivity, using tobacco, excessive consumption of alcohol, aging, excessive consumption of soda, long-term exposure to corticosteroids.

Men are also prone to mental disorders like depression and anxiety. Given the pressure society exerts on men, it is no wonder men these days are prone to mental disorders. What makes it worse for men is that society has made it almost a taboo for men to express their feelings. This perverted belief hinders men from seeking the help they need in fear that they will seem weak.

How to Address the Gender Disparity in Healthcare

According to Dr. Hetal Gandhi, a primary doctor in W. Bellfort, the following measures will help address the widening health gap between men and women:

  • Create awareness on why men’s health matters in schools, the workplace, and society at large. This move helps address the stereotypes of masculinity in these areas.
  • Another way we can address the gender gap is by supporting movements that work toward gender transformation. By redefining the role of men in society, we help promote equal opportunities for men and women, scrap outdated stereotype beliefs about masculinity, and avert intimate partner conflicts.
  • Another recommendation is to include men in the effort to improve the health of women and children. This move helps foster an environment that views men as key players in health reforms, making them included in policies and reforms made.

In conclusion, gender disparity in healthcare is blamed on stereotypes about masculinity. These stereotypical beliefs cause men to participate in reckless behaviors and also act as a justification for exposing men to potential health risks in the workplace. For more information on the importance of men’s health, visit us at Crosspointe Medical Clinic.

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