Study finds men are more likely to develop physical illness than women

September 9, 2013 by Kendra Stephenson

Men were more likely to develop a physical illness than women during a 10-year period studied by researchers at St. Michael's Hospital.

Having a mental illness increases the risk of developing a by 10 times in both men and , the study found. However, women with mental illness tend to develop a physical illness a year earlier than men, according to the study by Dr. Flora Matheson, a scientist in hospital's Centre for Research on Inner City Health. Women were at a 14 per cent reduced risk, compared to men, of developing physical illness; meaning that men are disadvantaged from a perspective.

"The role of gender as a risk factor for illness is not always considered, but is an important element in ," said Dr. Matheson.

Dr. Matheson's findings appear online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. The study used data from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences where Dr. Matheson is an adjunct scientist.

About 25-30 per cent of the population lives with a mental health disorder in a given year. There is growing interest in studying the link between physical and mental illness as new studies indicate people with serious mental illness have higher rates of physical ailments such as metabolic syndrome, hypertension and cardiovascular, viral and respiratory diseases. Dr. Matheson was particularly interested in seeing whether gender also had an impact on the relationship between and onset of physical illnesses.

Her study used information from the 2000-2001 Canadian Community Health Survey and subsequent medical records to track the onset of four physical illnesses from 2001-01 to 2010-11 – chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, asthma, hypertension and diabetes.

"This study suggests the need for more research on the subject to fully understand connections between gender and complex health issues," said Dr. Matheson, a medical sociologist.

"The research also indicates a need for policy change to be more sensitive to these complex-needs patients," she said. "Short assessments often restrict physicians from addressing all potential health problems, limiting preventative care. There's potential for reduced health system costs if we can better meet the needs of patients with complex health issues."

Explore further: Review highlights links between problem gambling and substance abuse, and lack of treatment options

Related Stories

Review highlights links between problem gambling and substance abuse, and lack of treatment options

September 4, 2013
Problem gamblers are a hidden population among people with mental health or substance abuse issues who often don't get the treatment they need, a new study shows.

CAMH study shows mental illness associated with heavy cannabis use

April 2, 2013
People with mental illnesses are more than seven times more likely to use cannabis weekly compared to people without a mental illness, according to researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) who studied ...

How can mental health research help patients and reduce NHS costs?

July 25, 2013
Leading academics and clinicians met at the University of Reading yesterday (Tuesday 23 July) to discuss the links between physical and mental health and how the latest mental health research could help patients in all parts ...

Mental illness tied to higher rates of physical problems: report

April 13, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Adults with mental illness are more likely to have certain types of chronic physical health problems than those without mental illness, according to a U.S. government report released this week.

Study links mental health problems to poor prognosis in male cancer patients

May 24, 2012
Men suffering from psychiatric problems when diagnosed with cancer are more likely to die from the disease, according to a new study part-funded by the Wellcome Trust. The findings also reveal that those with psychiatric ...

Recommended for you

Probing how Americans think about mental life

October 20, 2017
When Stanford researchers asked people to think about the sensations and emotions of inanimate or non-human entities, they got a glimpse into how those people think about mental life.

Itsy bitsy spider: Fear of spiders and snakes is deeply embedded in us

October 19, 2017
Snakes and spiders evoke fear and disgust in many people, even in developed countries where hardly anybody comes into contact with them. Until now, there has been debate about whether this aversion is innate or learnt. Scientists ...

Dutch courage—Alcohol improves foreign language skills

October 18, 2017
A new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, conducted by researchers from the University of Liverpool, Maastricht University and King's College London, shows that bilingual speakers' ability to speak a second ...

Inflamed support cells appear to contribute to some kinds of autism

October 18, 2017
Modeling the interplay between neurons and astrocytes derived from children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Brazil, say innate ...

Study suggests psychedelic drugs could reduce criminal behavior

October 18, 2017
Classic psychedelics such as psilocybin (often called magic mushrooms), LSD and mescaline (found in peyote) are associated with a decreased likelihood of antisocial criminal behavior, according to new research from investigators ...

Taking probiotics may reduce postnatal depression

October 18, 2017
Researchers from the University of Auckland and Otago have found evidence that a probiotic given in pregnancy can help prevent or treat symptoms of postnatal depression and anxiety.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.