It’s All in Your Mind. Well, at Least Some of It

Those of us who work in the health field have long been aware of the connection between mind and body and that your mental health can have a big influence on your physical heath. But there’s been very little research has explored the degree to which mental health issues affect men and women differently.
A team of Canadian researchers analyzed data from about 15,000 adults suffering from some kind of mental illness. They found that over the course of 10 years—from 2000-2009—men were 14% more likely than women to develop one or more of four conditions: asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, and hypertension.

Of course there’s the ongoing issue that men don’t go to the doctor as often as women. However, the study’s lead author, Flora Matheson, a medical sociologist and scientist in Toronto’s Centre for Research on Inner City Health, men are also more likely to have a genetic predisposed to develop those (and many other) conditions. “It’s a strong difference, stronger than I thought it might be,” Matheson said in an interview with the Toronto Star.

In another study of the connection between mental health and physical health, a team of researchers led by Howard Fink from the Minneapolis VA Medical Center’s Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center found that men who had a “stressful life event” were 33% more likely to suffer a fall in the 12 months after the event than men who hadn’t suffered a stressful event. The stressed men were also 68% more likely to have multiple falls.

Interesting, though, the men were no more likely to suffer a fracture than less-stressed men who’d fallen.
What constituted a stressful event was pretty broad, and included losing an important person, serious illness or accident suffered by a wife, separation from a relative or close friend, having financial difficulties, moving, and even the loss of a pet or giving up an important hobby.

The Canadian study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. Read an abstract here:

The study on falls, published in the journal Age and Ageing, tracked more than 5,000 men age 65 and over for a year at six locations around the country. Read an abstract here:

Armin Brott

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Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.
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