In HealthWatch, The Early Show focuses on its medical correspondent's new book: "From Boys To Men: A Woman's Guide to the Health of Husbands, Partners, Sons, Fathers, and Brothers."
In her book, Dr. Emily Senay and co-writer Rob Waters address men's health from their caretakers' point of view. In the introduction, Senay proclaims that "men are the weaker sex," adding, "They begin life as more fragile beings, then compound it with an attraction to risk, an aversion to self-care and an arsenal of unhealthy habits."
The book is not designed to carry condemnation or a patronizing viewpoint, but to offer an honest look at who is really responsible for the health of men and boys. Senay offers her own experience as the mother of a young boy and the wife of a man who was faced with medical problems and was reluctant to take them seriously. She realized, like so many other women, that she had to take charge.
"As any woman reading this will already know, I did it because I'm a woman, and this is what women do. We take charge of health matters; we become 'Dr. Mom.'"
Why did Senay choose to do a book on men's health?
"Two good reasons," she says. "I got married and I had a son. For so many years, I had focused and concentrated on women's health and looking at what was going on in women's health. When I had my husband and my son, I realized that I didn't know a lot about men's health. Many of the assumptions that I had made about men's health turned out not to be true. So this was really a personal quest to understand what was going on with boys and men."
And, she says, she learned a lot.
Senay says. "There is no question women drive health care in this country. (Women are) much more likely to buy health books or search the web for health information… They buy most of the drugs in pharmacies around the country. So women are very intimately involved in healthcare in their family. And honestly, women are really the unsung heroes of men's health. So often women are behind a man, driving them in to see a doctor or making sure they get care, not only for their husbands, obviously, but also for their sons."
In many ways, men, not women, are the weaker sex.
"When you use the yardstick of longevity," says Senay, "men really are the weaker sex. Men die five to six years before women do. When you look at people who live to be 100, only 1 out of 5 are men. Men have all sorts of longevity problems, starting almost in the
womb. (A total of) 105 baby boys are born for every 100 girls. But very quickly, for a variety of reasons, boys start to die off. And by 35 years old, women outnumber men."
"From Boys to Men" is as expansive and clinical, as it is succinct and relatable. Senay has designed the book to describe the illnesses, conditions, and health habits most common to men and then offers suggestions on prevention and treatment.
"From Boys to Men" also examines the reasons that men are reluctant to get more involved in their own health care and how the women in their lives can help them become healthier.