For long, it has been a global phenomenon: men die much quicker than women. Several reasons have been adduced for the development.
Statistics have revealed that 57 per cent of all those aged 65 and older are female while 67 per cent of 85-year-olds are women. The average lifespan is about seven years longer for women worldwide.
In Nigeria, male life expectancy in 2019 was 53.79 years, while for the female in same year it was 55.62 years.
This disturbing development was the major topic at the weekly “Man to Man Frank Talk,” an interactive forum initiated by the Class of ’87, Christ’s School, Ado Ekiti, Alumni Association. The group is led by Mr. Morakinyo Bayode, a United Kingdom-based architect and head of reinvestment at Optivo, London.
The lecturer, Sir Olukorede Oni, a pharmacist and territorial manager, North West, with Taylek Drugs Company, gave reasons for the higher mortality rates among males and enumerated factors that might be applied to reduce the frightening statistics.
In his words, statistics have been consistent that from age 55 to 60, there is a marked increase in women’s longevity, which surpasses that of men by 7 per cent.
Sir Oni, a Knight of Saint John International, also enumerated some factors that he said had for long conspired to dispatch men to their graves quicker than women.
“One, men take bigger risks than women. They smoke more, drink more and travel more than women. Two, men do more dangerous jobs like some of our fathers did by climbing palm trees to tap wine, doing mountain climbing or car racing. Three, 50 per cent of men have cardiovascular conditions and are poorly treated. Four, more men commit suicide faster than women. Five, men are more introverted and less socially-wired and this can lead to depression, leading to faster deaths. Six, men tend to be uncomfortable around doctors.
“Men avoid doctors more than women. We procrastinate about our conditions. Whereas a woman would go to the doctor to complain about a little headache, a man would sleep with it. We don’t observe our body system as much as ladies do, and little changes are not noticed by us. Seven, we carry large loads and we bear the brunt alone. These things affect us and weaken us and send us to our graves early. So, it is very correct that men die faster than the ladies,” he noted.
Oni informed the audience that, to avoid early death, men must begin to take their lifestyle and health more seriously.
Responding to a question on steps that men must take to enable a longer, healthier life, Oni asserted that: “You must do proper health checks at least thrice a year. Increase your social links. Be happy. Don’t overstress your life. Reduce the risk factors like smoking and over-consumption of alcoholic beverages. Do things in moderation, including the amount of food you consume. As we age, our food should be reduced. We should eat like kings in the morning, like princes in the afternoon, and like stewards in the evening. People must learn to eat about four hours before bed.”
Oni noted that most men would die early since they hardly take care of their health in their youthful days, explaining that Nigeria as a country lacked adequate social welfare programmes to take care of the health needs of its senior citizens.
“We don’t even have the desired health facilities,” he averred. “Our senior citizens should naturally be taken care of for free, like it happens in several other countries. But here, their pension is not even paid and their children are unemployed. Social network is zero and there is no government welfare. This is why it is important that you take care of your health.”
The pharmacist also explained why men experience reduced libido as they advance in age. He noted that the situation was also a major source of concern to many.
“The hormone in the body, called testosterone, is responsible for our sex drive and, as we grow older, the level reduces. When we have underlying health conditions and we are on drugs, our libido reduces. Most drugs for diabetes and hypertension affect one’s sex drive. Also, when men are not happy due to economic or social reasons, our libido gets weakened.”
He admitted that the libido could be enhanced with certain drugs but warned that one must ensure that there are no underlying health conditions before such drugs are used.
“You must check your blood pressure and your heart condition before you consume some drugs. Many men have met their death while using aphrodisiacs to impress their female partners. When you begin to consume sex-enhancing drugs daily like your life depends on them, then you are on your way to the grave,” Oni warned.
He urged anyone suffering from erectile dysfunction to seek medical help and not resort to self-medication or consumption of local concoctions popularly known as paraga.
Responding to a question on what the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) was doing to control substance abuse, especially alcohol, in Nigeria, Oni explained that the PSN had no control over alcohol use.
“But the ones under our control slip to the hands of quacks,” he lamented. “We have few pharmacists here in the country and majority of the 774 local government areas are not covered. We have untrained and unqualified patent medicine dealers everywhere. Some even openly hawk drugs illegally,” he said.
A participant, Professor Folarin Oguntoyinbo of the of the Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, United States, sought to know why people have been getting very easy access to performance-enhancing drugs in Nigeria, even when pharmacists know the side effects, especially as the tendency to aggravate hypertension during sex is high. Oni responded: “Some Nigerians regularly tell lies to get drugs and, out of emotions, some pharmacists are forced to sell. Remember too that even if a pharmacist does not sell, some patent medicine sellers or operators of ‘chemist’s shops’ would sell. Actually, a pharmacist will do background checks and always ask for prescriptions,” he said.
Responding to a question on why some men tend to urinate many times overnight, Oni said the condition could be caused by a number of factors, including diabetes and prostate issues. He said proper health checks at the hospital would determine the cause, while the proper treatment would be done.
He admitted that more black people were suffering from high blood pressure and urged individuals to reduce their salt intake and have a more balanced lifestyle.