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These Diseases Affect Men More Than Women

Updated September 23, 2021 2.9k views12 items

There are diseases that affect everyone, but professionals in the medical community believe there are certain diseases that affect men more than women. These illnesses aren't simply different strains of the "man flu," either; common diseases in men can prove fatal. 

The reasons vary as to why some medical conditions are more common in men than in women. For some men, hormones could be a factor. Lifestyle factors typical of men may also have something to do with it. Some doctors argue that men aren't as diligent as women when it comes to regular checkups, and that is why certain preventable ailments are seen more often in men.

Even if the medical community does not know the exact reason behind medical conditions common in men, they know it usually ends in a debilitating or lethal manner. Whether you're a man or the partner of a man, knowing what to look for with these common ailments could be life-saving. 

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  • Men are much more likely to get HIV than women, and gay or bisexual men are much more likely to get HIV than heterosexual men. A 2010 study by the CDC said men who have sex with other men are 44 times more likely to get HIV than a heterosexual man, and they are 40 times more likely than women to get HIV.

    One major reason gay and bisexual men are more susceptible to HIV is because it is 18 times more likely to contract HIV from anal sex than vaginal sex (without using protection for either, that is). Cells in the rectum are more likely to get HIV than vaginal cells; semen and the lining of the rectum also carry more HIV than vaginal fluid.

    In a study in New Zealand, one in 15 gay or bisexual men had HIV. The same holds true in the United States, where gay and bisexual men account for most of the new HIV diagnoses. 

  • Heart Disease

    Though heart disease is the number one cause of death for both sexes, men can get heart disease much earlier than women can; the scales tip around age 55.

    Some say it's stress-related, as men may not have ways to express stress like women feel comfortable doing. Abdominal fat is also linked to heart disease; though obesity in general is linked to heart disease, abdominal fat is particularly dangerous for men. 

    One 2008 study indicated that hormones could make men more predisposed to heart disease at a young age; higher estrogen levels in men were associated with the bad type of cholesterol (the reverse also proved true, that low estrogen levels were linked with the good type of cholesterol). So, a man could be at an increased risk for heart disease well before any symptoms show up. 

  • In 2018, there were about 10,000 more men than women who were diagnosed with lung cancer, and about 15,000 more men died from it. A man has a one in 15 chance of getting lung cancer, whereas a woman has a one in 17 chance. Smoking increases the risk for both sexes. 

    About 90% of men who get lung cancer have formerly or are currently smoking, whereas this is true for only about 80% of women who get lung cancer. Likewise, the survival rate for men is lower than it is for women. Black men are 20% more likely than white men to get lung cancer. 

    But why is lung cancer more deadly for men? It could be related to lifestyle factors, but women can have the same unhealthy habits as a man and still not be as susceptible.

    Some experts suspect this sad statistic could simply be because men are more apt to ignore health problems than women. David Foreman, information lead of the National Cancer Intelligence Network, said,  "Men have a reputation for having a 'stiff upper lip' and not being as health-conscious as women." 

  • Liver Disease

    The differences between liver problems in men and women are complicated. Generally speaking, women are more likely to suffer from the adverse effects of alcohol, as they are usually smaller and have less body water. One expert said a woman will experience double the effects a man does from the same amount of alcohol. 

    However, men are more likely to get liver cancer than women. Heptocellular carcinoma, or HCC, comprises most liver cancer diagnoses (it can be caused by heptitis B or C, alcohol, or other factors). Men are 60-80% more likely to get HCC, and people under 50, the chances are even worse - men are seven to 10 times more likely get HCC. 

    It's possible men are more prone to liver cancer than women because women have less of a certain protein. A UCSD Department of Medicine study found that after inducing cancer in mice, 100% of male mice got HCC and only 10-20% of females did. They pinned this on a protein called IL-6, which female mice produced less of than the male mice. When they eliminated IL-6 in male mice, the rates of HCC dropped to the equivalent to that of the female mice.