Why Do Women Live Longer Than Men?

According to many sources, women live longer than men. Some may think lifestyle has to do with it, or jobs, or risks, and so on. But the answer is less complicated than you may think. In truth, there are a number of reasons for which women, statistically, live longer than men. Some have believed that this was due to the stresses placed on men, who have traditionally been considered bread-winners by the Western world, but the difference still stands in modern societies where women work just as much as men.

One reason scientists offer is that common heart diseases begin earlier in men as opposed to women. The varying degrees of iron deficiency that menstruation can cause in women also changes the way their cardiovascular cells react to heart disease. Another theory is that women’s double X chromosomes (as opposed to men’s XY) might also confer certain advantages. There’s also the so-called “testosterone storm” that affects men in their 20s, during which they tend to engage in dangerous or self-destructive behaviors.

Biologically, men may be more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease, but this susceptibility was seen only after deaths from other causes, such as infections, started to decline, the researchers said.

Body fat (also called adiposity) tends to be distributed differently over men’s bodies compared with women’s, and “their differing patterns of adiposity could make men more vulnerable to the increasing weight that resulted from changes in diet and activity,” the researchers said in their study, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Among the other alternatives is the “jogging female heart” hypothesis – the idea that a woman’s heart rate increases during the second half of the menstrual cycle, offering the same benefits as moderate exercise. The result is delayed risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. Or it could also be a simple matter of size. Taller people have more cells in their bodies, meaning they are more likely to develop harmful mutations; bigger bodies also burn more energy, which could add to wear and tear within the tissues themselves. Since men tend to be taller than women, they should therefore face more long-term damage.

Testosterone might make our bodies stronger in the short-term, but the same changes also leave us open to heart disease, infections, and cancer later in life. “For example, testosterone might increase seminal fluid production but promote prostate cancer; or it might alter cardiovascular function in a way that improves performance early in life but leads to hypertension and atherosclerosis later.

Not only do women escape the risks of testosterone – they may also benefit from their own “elixir of youth” that helps heal some of the ravages of time. The female sex hormone oestrogen is an “antioxidant”, meaning that it mops up poisonous chemicals that cause cells stress. In animal experiments, females lacking oestrogen tend not to live so long as those who have not been operated on – the exact opposite of the male eunuch’s fate.

The above descriptions are some reasons why Women live longer than men, but there might be more other reasons which I did not explain here.

Posted by: Lusubilo A. Mwaijengo

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