Three reasons women live longer than men
Worldwide, there are now 31 people over the age of 110. Of these, 30 are women.
According to the Morbidity-Mortality Paradox or Health Paradox, despite higher rates of disability and poorer health than men, women experience greater longevity in modern human societies.
What is the reason behind this? Is it a woman's immune system, luck or magical powers?
None of the above. Here are three science-backed reasons why women outlive men:
1. Men abuse their bodies more
One of the factors that affect longevity in men is that they are more likely to be seen with a cigarette hanging out of their mouths - according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 40% of men are smokers compared to 9% of women. Also, fewer women tend to abuse alcohol compared to men.
Scientists confirm that these habits make men more prone to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, coronary heart disease, digestive problems, and liver disease.
Studies have also shown that compared to women, men are at a higher risk of developing diabetes and it’s complications like diabetic nephropathy and diabetic foot.
2. Women have estrogen in their corner
Scientists have shown that testosterone may stimulate the prostate gland and increase the risk of prostate cancer. Also, studies have shown that testosterone improves reproductive function earlier in life but shortens the lifespan in the long run (antagonistic pleiotropy effect).
Other than maintaining female sexual organs, estrogen helps in blood clotting, increases the level of good cholesterol and maintains gastrointestinal tract.
Estrogen also has antioxidant properties and helps delay the decrease of skin collagen in women as they grow older.
Scientists believe that because of estrogen’s protective effect, premenopausal women are less likely to have coronary heart disease than men and women who have hit menopause.
3. Girls are more robust from the moment they are born
Some scientists believe that girls are more robust, stronger and healthier, than boys from birth itself.
Joy Lawn, director of the Centre for Maternal, Reproductive, and Child Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has said that whenever a newborn boy comes into the neonatal unit, statistically, he is more likely to die compared to a girl.
The extra X chromosome in the female DNA is somehow said to be responsible for this.
Human DNA is made up of at least two sex chromosomes that decide the gender. Females have XX, whereas males have XY.
Recently, research was done on two sets of mice: one with natural male-female mouse biology (XX and XY) and the other set with XX chromosomes paired with testes and XY chromosomes paired with ovaries. A senior author of the study and neurologist, Dena Dubal, found that mice with two X-chromosomes outlived all the mice but the ones with testes and XX chromosome also turned out to live longer. This longevity effect was observed after 21 months, as it is considered to be the end of a normal mouse's lifespan.
The researchers concluded that the second X and its genetic expression has a protective effect that increases survival.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read our article on Estrogen.
The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor firstpost is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.
Updated Date: Dec 02, 2019 15:39:41 IST
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