Why do women typically live longer than men?

By: Health Local Staff Jan 27, 2014
  Article
Why do women typically live longer than men?

Let's take a look at the different areas that contribute to a lower life span in the genders.

Research revealed that in Canada the average life expectancy of a woman is 83, while only 79 for men. The age gap is also common in other areas of the world, which has prompted further study. Why is it that women live longer than men?

Scientific American attributes lifestyle as the key reason. Many scientists believe that the aging process is affected by degeneration and damaged DNA. So, it may be true that lifestyle hazards contribute to a lower life span.

Lifestyle Differences
From smoking to drinking, statistics show that more men take part in risky lifestyles than women. Car accident related death is also higher among men than women. Young men are killed in car accidents every year, which can skew life expectancy data. Clean living generally leads to longer days on earth. Women drink less, smoke less, and sleep more than men on average.

Immune Systems
Recent research has discovered that a woman's immune system ages gradually and at a lower rate than her male counterpart. Studies out of Japan show that women have a slower decline in B and T-cells and as a result may live longer. Both B and T-cells impact the role of the immune system and its function. B cells produce antibodies and T-cells assist the function of the immune system.

Also, men tend to eat a diet that is poor in antioxidants. Antioxidants are designed to rid the body of toxins and damaging free radicals that lead to disease and chronic conditions. Eating a diet rich in foods like blueberries, lentils, and whole grains can greatly reduce the risk of immune system problems. Overconsumption of alcohol may also contribute to immune problems. A poor diet leads to disease, which contributes to a lower life expectancy among men.

Heart Problems
While some research shows the gap closing, men still lead the race on heart problems. Cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes are more common in men than women. Since more men die each year from heart-related problems their life expectancy is shortened. Men also tend to eat more poorly, overall, than women. Higher blood pressures, increased cholesterol levels, and increased stress and anxiety all contribute to heart problems.

Higher Suicide Rates
Men typically have a higher rate of suicide than women. It is because of this fact that the life expectancy of men is deemed lower than that of women. Men become more depressed than women as they age, which is a contributing factor to suicide. Men tend to experience more stress than women, especially as they age. Men are more prone to bottling anxiety up inside and not communicating with others about their problems. Stress can cause a variety of health problems, including mental health problems.

The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.