Leading causes of death for men over 40 are well known -- and their risks can be curbed. Here's how to lessen the health risks for middle-aged men.
During midlife and beyond, men's leading causes of death include familiar standbys: heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease, suicide, and Alzheimer's disease.
To lessen your odds of dying from these killers, curb the critical habits that lead to them:
Risk: Being single
Numerous surveys have shown that married men, especially men in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, are healthier and have lower death rates than those who never married or who are divorced or widowed. Never-married men are three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease, for example. After 50, divorced men's health deteriorates rapidly compared to married men's, found a RAND Center for the Study of Aging report.
What's the magic in the ring? The social connectedness of marriage may lower stress levels and depression, which lead to chronic illness. (Women tend to have more social ties outside of marriage.)
Oops: Unmarried men generally have poorer health habits, too -- they drink more, eat worse, get less medical care, and engage in more risky behaviors (think drugs and promiscuous sex). Exception: It's better to be single than in a strained relationship, probably because of the stress toll, say researchers in Student BMJ.
Silver lining: It's never too late. Men who marry after 25 tend to live longer than those who wed young. And the longer a fellow stays married, the greater the boost to his well-being.
Risk: Electronic overload
Psychologists are debating whether "Internet addiction disorder" is a legitimate diagnosis, and how much is too much, given how ubiquitous screens are in our lives. But one thing's certain: The more time that's spent looking at wide-screen TVs, smartphones, tablets, gaming systems, laptops, and other electronics, the less time that's spent on more healthful pursuits, like moving your body, communing with nature, and interacting with human beings.
Social isolation raises the risk of depression and dementia. And a sedentary lifestyle -- a.k.a. "sitting disease" -- has been linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and premature death. A 2012 Australian study of more than 220,000 adults ages 45 and up linked sitting for 11 or more hours a day with a 40 percent increased risk of death over the next three years.
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