Can Women Live Longer?
As we better understand why people die, we’re learning how biological and behavioral factors may partly explain why women live longer than men. Scientific advancements also impact the health of women and men differently. While women may live longer than men, they report more illnesses, more doctor visits and more hospital stays than men. This is known as the morbidity-mortality paradox i.e., women are sicker but live longer.
One theory explains that women suffer from those illnesses which are less likely to kill them. Chronic non-fatal illnesses are more common in women like migraines, arthritis and asthma. These conditions may lead to poorer health, but don’t increase a woman’s risk of early death.
On the other hand, men are more susceptible to health conditions that can kill them. For example, men tend to have more fat surrounding their organs (called visceral fat) and women tend to have more fat under their skin (called subcutaneous fat). Visceral fat is a risk factor for coronary heart disease, the leading underlying cause of death for men.
Biological factors to women’s longevity
Coronary heart disease, which results from a combination of biological factors and lifestyle habits, is a major reason for the difference in mortality between men and women. Other biological factors may contribute to men aging faster than women, for example, testosterone in men contributes to their generally larger bodies and deeper voices. In turn, this may accelerate the age-related changes in their bodies compared to women.