MEN’S HEALTH

Emerging data confirms that Aboriginal men have the worst health outcomes of any subgroup in Australia. The data clearly indicates that Aboriginal men’s health and wellbeing is not tracking very well at the moment. Aboriginal men die earlier from chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, injury, respiratory disease, cancer and endocrine disease. They have higher rates of suicide than non-Aboriginal men, and have similar death rates from assault to females.
Life expectancy for Aboriginal males in Australia is estimated at 18 years less than non-Aboriginal men on average (59 years for Aboriginal men versus 77 years for non-Aboriginal men). There is also a 6 year gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal men and Aboriginal women (59 years and 65 years respectively). (AIHW, 2008)

Male Health Problems

Cardiovascular (Heart) diseases

  • Include heart attack, stroke, rheumatic heart disease and hypertensive disease.
  • A major (and preventable) risk factor is cigarette smoking.
  • Indigenous males die at 2.9 times the rate of non-Indigenous males

 

Injury

  • Includes motor vehicle accidents, falls, homicides and suicides.
  • 19.6% of all Indigenous male deaths and is the main killer of younger Indigenous males
  • Rates of homicide are 7–8 times those of other Australian men;
  • Rates of suicide are 70% more than expected.
  • A major risk factor is alcohol.
  • Indigenous males die at 3.2 times the rate of non-Indigenous males from injury.

 

Respiratory diseases

  • Include lung diseases (e.g. chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or emphysema), pneumonia and influenza (pneumonia and influenza are the main causes of death; Fluvax and Pneumovax vaccines are available to prevent these conditions).
  • Accounts for 11% of all Indigenous male deaths.
  • Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor.
  • Indigenous males die at 5.2 times the rate of non-Indigenous males
  • Cancers
  • Include lung and digestive (including liver) cancers, and prostate and oral cancers.
  • Responsible for 12–13% of all Indigenous male deaths.
  • Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor.
  • Indigenous males die at 1.4 times the rate of non-Indigenous males from cancers.

Endocrine diseases

  • Include diabetes.
  • Account for 6% of all Indigenous male deaths.
  • Indigenous males die at 6.1 times the rate of non-Indigenous males from diabetes.
  • Overall diabetes in Indigenous populations is about 2–4 times non-Indigenous rates.
  • Diabetes is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, renal disease, peripheral vascular disease and retinopathy. It may be associated with obesity, high blood pressure, inactivity, poor diet and excessive alcohol consumption.

 

OTHER HEALTH ISSUES AFFECTING MEN

  • Sexual Health problems (dysfunction or STI)
  • Prostate problems
  • Incontinence problems
  • Mental Health
  • Social Emotional and Well being

 

 

 

WHY

Generally Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely than other Australians to be exposed to health risk factors such as low socioeconomic status, poor living conditions, poor nutrition, use of harmful substances and violence. Many more issues specifically affect Indigenous males including:

  • loss and grief;
  • intergenerational trauma;
  • loss of culture and roles;
  • Racism
  • loss of family;
  • oppressive government policy;
  • forced removal from land; and
  • unemployment;
  • problems with the law;
  • experience of violence;
  • being sexually assaulted;
  • childhood disruptions;
  • imprisonment of parents;
  • exposure to widespread drinking
  • recent relationship problems
  • loss of land;
  • loss of traditional ways;
  • loss of roles as hunter/providers/warrior/teacher of young men
  • loss of physical, spiritual and mental health
  • lack of recognition of human status
  • loss of freedom;
  • removal of children.
  • Substance misuse

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHERE TO GET HELP

  • Health professional
  • Doctor, Nurse, Aboriginal Health Worker, etc
  • Counsellor, Drug and Alcohol Worker, Sexual Health Worker etc
  • Community Health Team etc
  • Help line
  • Family and Friends

DO’s

  • Get it checked out by a Health Professional
  • Talk to someone
  • Ask questions
  • Get information
  • Have a Health Check

DON’TS

  • Don’t wait
  • Don’t put if off
  • Don’t ignore it