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Why Do Women Live Longer Than Men

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There have been various studies done on the average lifespan of human beings based on their gender. Every study indicates that on an average, women live 5 years longer than men.

Average Life Expectancy: Men Vs Women

  • In the USA the average life-expectancy of a woman is 81 years and a man is 76 years.
  • In Sweden, reports showed that the average life-expectancy at birth in the 1800s was 33 years for women and 31 years for men. But now, it has increased to 83.5 years for women and 79.5 years in men, a difference of 4 years.
  • In France, the difference is 7.8 years and in the UK, it is 5.8 years.
  • In countries like India and Bangladesh, the difference is as low as 0.6 or 0.1 years.
  • In Australia, the average life expectancy of women is 84.6 and men is 80.2 years.

Various reasons like psychology, health conditions, genetics, and hormones account to this difference in the life expectancy, mentioned below are the same.

Why Do Women Live Longer Than Men

1. Decreased Lifestyle And Occupational Risk

Decreased Lifestyle And Occupational Risk

Research indicates that men are more prone to drinking alcohol and smoking compared to women. This could lead to various other disorders which affect their life span. Due to their muscular strength, men are in occupations which could put their lives at risk. Some of these occupations are working in mines, being in military services, and driving. With diminishing examples of gender stereotyping, women are being a part of every industry, yet, some professions still have a male majority, increasing their mortality rate.1

2. Decreased Risk Of Cardiovascular Diseases

Decreased Risk Of Cardiovascular Diseases :Why Do Women Live Longer Than Men

Smoking and alcohol put men at an increased risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. The mortality rate of men increases by 40% with increased chances of getting arteriosclerosis due to smoking. This also elevates their risk of having a stroke. Studies also show that women have better stress handling capabilities compared to men, which is yet another reason of decreased risk in women. Women tend to face these problems between age 70 and 80, while men become a victim of these between age 50 and 60.

3. Presence Of Two X Chromosomes

Presence Of Two X Chromosomes :Why Do Women Live Longer Than Men

Chromosomes come in pairs and it is a known fact that females have two X chromosomes, while men have X and Y chromosomes. The presence of two X chromosomes in women lets them have two copies of each gene. And, as cells age, if one of the genes gets damaged, the other could back-up for its normal functioning. The absence of another X chromosomes in men negates the chance of having a backup, leading to continuous aging of cells, making them more susceptible to diseases.

4. Presence Of Estrogen

Presence Of Estrogen :Why Do Women Live Longer Than Men

Estrogen is a female hormone that regulates various body activities. It contains antioxidants which act as scavengers, removing the poisonous chemicals and stress caused by cell aging. The experiments conducted on animals showed that female animals who were deprived of estrogen healed slowly when diseased, as the cell repair process was affected.

Estrogen also eliminates the bad cholesterol and plays an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Recent studies show that estrogen may play a vital role in the liver mechanism, which is responsible for cholesterol digestion. Some cases have shown a delayed onset of Alzheimer’s disease in women, due to the presence of estrogen.

5. Lower Amounts Of Testosterone

Lower Amounts Of Testosterone: Why Do Women Live Longer Than Men

Testosterone is a hormone found in both men and women. It is responsible for the mental and physical health of men accounting for muscle and bone mass and impacts their sex drive. It is present in very minimal amounts in women. During late teenage and the 20s, men undergo a process called “testosterone storm” which could lead to aggressive behaviors and actions. They tend to have an increased risk-taking ability during this phase, making themselves a prey to accidents, depression, or suicide.

Such behavior-related fatalities prevail in men even at older age. Studies show that this could double their risk of dying in an accident or quadruple the risk of taking their own life. Some researchers define this hormone-related mortality as “testosterone toxicity”, which increases the levels of bad cholesterol and decreases the levels of good cholesterol. This, makes men more prone to heart disease and stroke.

6. Survival Of The Fittest

Survival of the fittest: Why do women live longer than men

Some studies provide the backing of Darwin’s theory of evolution– “the survival of the fittest” to prove that nature favors the longevity of women. Since bringing up the young one requires a persistent investment of energy, nature supports the long lifespan of females in all species. Not just human beings, research shows that female sperm whales outlive their male counterparts by an average of 30 years.

Each of us has an option of making lifestyle choices that are healthier and keep us happy. Irrespective of the gender, following an active and healthy lifestyle, which includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, giving up on alcohol or smoking could increase your lifespan!

References   [ + ]

1. Waldron, Ingrid. “Why do women live longer than men?.” Social Science & Medicine (1967) 10, no. 7-8 (1976): 349-362.