Do women really live longer than men? Is that a myth/belief or scientific fact? Could a lifespan of a particular gender be longer than another?
The answer is yes. Women live longer than men. 4 years on average. What exactly is causing this then? Are ladies predisposed to have a body that lasts longer? Or are the ladies doing something right in terms of their lifestyles? Going along the lines of ‘Nature vs Nurture’, it’s the interaction between genetics and our environment.
Biologically & Genetically
Sorry guys, if you all were born stronger, ladies were meant to live a little longer. This could be from the contribution of 2 main factors. Firstly, the differences in hormones – estrogen versus testosterone. Estrogen helps women in terms of controlling certain cholesterol levels. This reduces the risk of one contracting cardiovascular diseases. Testosterone, on the other hand, increases blood levels of the bad cholesterol and decreases levels of good cholesterol. As a result, the diseases are nonfatal in comparison to those that men contract. Additionally, because of estrogen, the female body is designed to have a stronger immune system. This is to accommodate pregnancy and hence delaying fatal diseases compared to men. While men start to have diseases during their late 40s or 50s, women are more likely to have them when they’re 60 (after menopause).
Secondly, the differences in chromosome makeup – XX (female) versus XY (males). Without turning this article into a full-on biology lesson, essentially women are able to live longer due to the presence of that extra X chromosome. The X chromosome actually contains something called microRNA. It is important in the regulation of the immune system. Additionally, with two X chromosomes, the theory is that nothing wrong will happen even with a genetic mutation. As such, males are at a disadvantage and are particularly prone to sex-linked disorders such as hemophilia.
Nurture. How you live your life definitely plays a part in this equation. In general, men have the tendency to live their life less cautiously in comparison to women. This could be due to the testosterone in their body that causes them to take more risks. As such, guys are more likely to put themselves in dangerous situations – getting into fights or daring to try life-threatening activities.
From a social perspective, it could be that men are more likely to be social drinkers and/or smokers. This affects health and the effects starts to kick in when men reach their 50s. Maybe it’s the social pressures involved in terms of shaping women’s lifestyles as well. Not to be stereotypical but most women do the chores in the house, especially in traditional societies like Asian cultures. I guess you can consider chores as a form of daily exercise too.
Women are also more health conscious. From watching our diet to taking regular weekly yoga/pilates classes, trying their best to keep in shape and active. We’re not saying that guys don’t have their workouts too, but rather women are more watchful of their health. Ladies are also more receptive to treatment, especially treatment for mental health.
Additionally, women live longer and happier lives (in general) due to extended social networks compared to men. Not only is having friends important but the quality of relationships matter. The importance of social networks is particularly useful as we age. Additionally, having strong relationships help in coping with the loss of a partner. Studies have shown that there’s a strong correlation between the death of a partner and one’s life expectancy decreases. Relationships contribute to creating a good life and is expounded by a researcher called Robert Waldinger. We highly recommend that you watch this video!
As we strive for a healthier lifestyle in the recent years, the gender gap in life expectancy has decreased as well. So if you’re a lady reading this, congratulations, you have a higher probability of living longer – but don’t be complacent! If you’re a guy reading this, don’t despair, you could always start to make the difference by avoiding health-harming activities. Either way, male or female, there’s simply no excuse to not be cautious when it comes to your health. You can’t live life to the fullest without a life to begin with. Take care of that first!