Why Do Women Live Longer Than Men?

The well-known fact: Women live longer than men…. but why??

In the past 100 years, the human life expectancy average has more than doubled, yet women continue to have a stronger lead in living longer than men. I had to find out why. So, I decided to explore articles and here is what I found:

Women keep backups of every gene

Men’s DNA versus women’s DNA.
With women having two X chromosomes, females keep double copies of every gene. Which means they have a spare if one is faulty. And men, with the X Y chromosomes, do not have a backup if one is faulty. As we age, cells begin to malfunction with time, putting men at greater risk for disease. 

Also with the extra X chromosome of women, which some scientists believe is a significant biological factor for women’s longer life expectancy. The extra X chromosome helps women regulate their immune system, giving women an advantage to better fight infections.

Women naturally produce antioxidants

Women’s estrogen appears to be protective, in the sense that it is shown to have an antioxidant role which in turn can prevent the kind of DNA damage that leads to disease. Interestingly, evidence has also shown that it can help maintain normal healthy cell function. 

Mens immune systems starts to curtail as they age

Men’s testosterone decreases as they age, which leads to a decrease in their immune system, risk of cardiovascular disease and risky behaviour of unhealthy overeating habits and smoking. 

High-five for cellulite

Biologically looking at men and women, men tend to have more fat surrounding their organs (known as visceral fat), whereas women tend to have more fat sitting under the skin (known as subcutaneous fat AKA cellulite). When fat surrounds the organs, this predicts cardiovascular disease. 

Another possible factor

A woman’s body has evolved to withstand and bounce back from the physical trauma of pregnancy and childbirth, as well as the demands of breastfeeding—challenges to which a male’s body is never exposed. As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. And for women, that strength may translate to a longer, healthier life.

Who knew! Women have essential light exercise every month

For women during their menstrual cycle, their heart rate increases, offering the same benefits of light exercise. As a result is a delayed risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. 

Follow and seek doctors advice

When women are diagnosed by a doctor, they are more likely to seek and take the doctor’s advice, versus men are less likely to seek doctor’s advice or take it. 

Progression in medicine

On another note, women at one time in the 19th century, did not live longer than men. This is due to infectious disease once used to affect women disproportionately a century ago. Advances in medicine have reduced this hardship for women. 

There is no definite conclusion as to why women live longer, nor a cut and dry answer, but it’s interesting to consider all these factors that could attribute to the female longevity gap. ∎

Articles of research: 1) Our World In Data 2) Science Direct 3) BBC 4) Advisory.com 5) Time.com

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