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Gender Disparity in Life Expectancy

There is no dispute over the fact that, on average, women live longer than men in almost all societies globally. The gap ranges into years in America, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us a woman’s life is expected to stretch up to about 79.3 years of age, as opposed to 73.5 years for men.

While some may attribute this difference to the fact that men have been involved in more physically dangerous professions, causes stretch farther than that and are linked to biological and behavioral differences between the sexes. What follows are some medical explanations that can perhaps shed some light on why the life expectancy scales always appear to tilt in the favor of women.

The Power of Estrogen

One of the major factors is the hormone estrogen, which promotes the dilation of blood vessels and improves cells lining blood vessels called endothelial cells, according to Dr. Robert Segal, a cardiologist and founder of Manhattan Cardiology. Improved blood flow will then reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis, one of the major causes of heart disease. Estrogen also improves lipid cholesterol profiles, reduces the inflammation in blood vessels, and gives anti-inflammatory properties that will in the end reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.

Risky Behaviors

An international cardiologist in Chicago and resident, Dr. Rohit Vuppuluri, discusses that men have Election-related At-risk behaviors: Smoking cigarettes, excessive drinking of liquor, drug use, and poor eating habits. According to him, these habits increase the risk of chronic diseases characterized by hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, lung disease, kidney disease, cirrhosis of the liver, and obesity, which can shorten life expectancy. Moreover, men are involved in riskier professions. Additionally, they drive recklessly and indulge in adventurous sports that lead to severe injuries, which reduce their lifespan.

Dietary Differences

Diet and exercise, according to Blanca Garcia, a dietitian nutritionist at Healthcanal, play a big role in living up to old age. She refers to research, which indicates that women make better food choices. Good food choices and regular exercise do much for better heart health, weight management, and overall good health, which can add years to any person’s life.

Emotional Suppression

According to psychologist Abigail Lev, societal conditioning that men must repress and suppress their feelings might be the reason for their shorter life expectancy compared to women. Women are more intimate with their social relationships and support systems, which could help them have better-coping mechanisms against stress. Such suppression of emotions is known to have higher levels of stress, reduced immunological competence, and a higher propensity for mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, pointing to poor health.

Health-Seeking Behavior

Dr. Vuppuluri comments that men deny or exclude themselves from the symptoms and discomforts, such as chest pain or shortness of breath, instead of seeking help. When they go for help, up to half of men never follow or act on their doctor’s advice, including not taking their medications or not going to follow-up appointments. This reluctance to discuss health matters can only contribute to less desirable medical outcomes with conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes, most of which usually remain asymptomatic.

The difference in life expectancy between the two genders is multi-faceted; however, some of the measures that could elongate life expectancy for both genders include healthy lifestyle practices such as regular exercise, good dietary habits, seeking medical care, and emotional well-being.

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