Why Do Women Live Longer Than Men?

This article explains the biological reasons why women on average tend to have a higher life expectancy than men

Women on average tend to live 5-7 years longer than men, according to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Men are more likely to engage in risky behavior, dangerous jobs, commit suicide or die from murder and heart-related diseases. This, however, is not the only reason why women tend to have a higher life expectancy than men. Along with the biological set up of males, there are many other factors which reduce the lifespan of men and boys compared to women and girls. Here, we look at the main biological reasons as to why men have a lower life expectancy than women.

Mutations in DNA make men age faster

Men tend to age faster compared to women. The reason for this is the gene mutation in the DNA of the mitochondria in men. Mitochondria are found in every individual cell of the body except in red blood cells. These organelles have their own DNA and can make proteins. Scientists have found that mutation in mitochondria in males tend to make them age faster while it is the not the case in females. This on average makes men to age faster than women.

Sex Chromosome Mutations

Male and female sex cells contain either an X or Y chromosome. Males have a pair of X and Y chromosomes while females only have a pair of X chromosomes. In case of a sex chromosome mutation, men and women will be affected differently. Gene mutations occurring on the X chromosome in males will have an effect on their aging and will be expressed. On the other hand, a gene mutation on the X chromosome in females will not have an effect and will be masked by the pairing allele, and hence the disease will not be expressed in females.

Hormonal Differences

The production of sex hormones has an effect in both male and female lifespans. Sex hormones are vital for the development and growth of sex organs. The male hormone, testosterone, raises the level of the bad cholesterol known as low-density Lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. This encourages the build-up of black in the arteries. The female hormone of estrogen reduces the concentration of LDL and thus reduces the risk of heart-related diseases. Hence, men are more likely to suffer from heart-related diseases than women, which then increases their mortality.

Living Dangerously

Men tend to live more dangerously and engage in violent actions more often. They take enormous risks which increase their vulnerability to accidents and death. When it comes to adhering to safety measures such as wearing a seatbelt or other safety gear, they are more likely to ignore this standard, while women are more likely to take caution. Men are the majority victims of drug abuse, alcoholism, terrorism and other risky behavior. Men are more inclined to take huge risks because of testosterone hormone, which creates a thrilling feeling associated with taking risks. In addition, the part of the brain associated with taking risks, the frontal lobe, is larger in males than in females.

A Decline In The Immune System

The rate of decline of the immune system of men is higher than that of women. At a younger age, men have a higher number of white blood cells compared to women of a similar age. However, the rate of decline of the white blood cells is faster in men than women, and eventually, women will have a higher number of lymphocytes compared to men at a certain age.

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