Article written and designed by Cosimo Simeone, Msc, PgdDip, Bsc, Physiotherapist

The difference in how long men and women live has been studied a lot. People have known for a while that women usually live longer. But why is that? It’s not simple – there are many reasons. In this blog, we’ll look at why there’s a gap in life expectancy between men and women.

Recent numbers, updated to 2023, show that in the US, how long people live has gone down for two years in a row. In 2019, it was 78.8 years, but in 2021, it went down to 76.1 years. This drop has made the gap between women and men even bigger. Now, women tend to live 5.8 years longer than men. This is the biggest difference since 1996, up from 4.8 years in 2010.

Why is there this gap? It’s not just one thing; it’s many things. Men face more challenges in living longer. They have higher rates of death from different reasons like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, suicide, COVID-19, and car accidents. Also, cultural norms might make many guys hide their health problems, not go to the doctor early, and do more risky things.

From differences in our bodies to how society sees us, figuring out why women live longer is interesting research. This, also matters a lot for public health and our well-being. Learning about this can help us all live longer and healthier lives.

Biological differences

Understanding why women often live longer than men takes us into the world of biology. Let’s uncover the secrets that make women’s lives a bit longer. This journey involves looking at hormonal differences, genetic traits, and how estrogens plays a big role in aging.

Women experience changes in hormones from when they’re young to when they’re older. Estrogen, not only manages the reproductive system but also does a lot more. It helps keep bones strong, supports heart health, and keeps cells in good shape.

Furthermore the estrogens often called the “youth hormones”, help keep skin stretchy, the brain sharp, and the body’s metabolism in balance. Estrogens increase the levels of beneficial cholesterol (HDL) while decreasing levels of harmful cholesterol, effectively lowering the chances of women experiencing strokes and heart diseases. This, in turn, reduces the risk of premature death for women in their prime years.

Genes, add another layer to why women live longer. Some studies suggest that women might inherit special genes that make them healthier and more resistant to sickness.

These genetic features, related to how the immune system works, help women stay strong and resilient as they age. For this reason the women immune system is considered stronger.

In a nutshell, the biological reasons women live longer involve a hormonal dance, strong genes, and the protective power of estrogen.

Lifestyle and psychosocial factors

Men often do riskier things, like activities that can be dangerous. This affects their health and makes their lives shorter compared to women.

These risky behaviors, more common in men, have a big impact on how long they live. Whether it’s taking on adventurous activities or doing things that aren’t good for health, men tend to choose riskier paths.

Also, looking at how social factors influence health decisions helps us understand why there’s a gap in how long men and women live.

In short, the way we live our lives decides how long we’re going to live. From riskier habits in men to how society influences our choices and the importance of daily routines, understanding these things helps us see why women often live longer.

Stress and problems are a big part of pur life, and understanding how women deal with it is key. How they handle stress/problems and the support they get from friends and family.

Women tend to have good support from their friends and family, and this helps them stay emotionally strong. Generally, they are more open to talk about their feelings and problems. This support not only makes them feel better but also plays a role in keeping them healthy for a longer time.

Healthcare choices

When it comes to staying healthy, men and women make different choices. From routine check-ups to getting tested for potential health issues, these decisions shape the healthcare experiences of both men and women.

Next up is how quickly people seek medical attention. Some go to the doctor right away, while others wait. And generally women tends to take care of their health more quickly.

Early detection is a big deal. In fact, finding health issues early on can make a big difference. Talking about the importance of catching problems early helps us see how it affects how long people live and how healthy they are.

Cultural ideas play a part in how people take care of themselves. So in our society and culture there is the myth that the men have to be strong and not taking care of their problems/health.

Instead is very important to talk out about your problems, take care of your physical health and mental health as quick as possible. We need to change this trend, and we need to start now to achieve a better gender equality, also in health.

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