The GENDER GAP between men and women in relation to health

According Harvard Health woman live on average 5 years longer than men and men are more likely to suffer from more health concerns during their life time than woman.

1 Apr 2022 INSIGHTS

According Harvard Health woman live on average 5 years longer than men and men are more likely to suffer from more health concerns during their life time than woman.

So, why is this case? The reasons vary from biological through to social and behavioural. Let's start with biological, men and women both have similar and differentiating pairs of chromosomes. Twenty-two pairs are present in both women and men and the 23rd pair is different between both sexes. In women the final pair consist of two X chromosomes and for men it includes an X and Y chromosome. So, what does this mean? The Y chromosome is only a third of an X chromosome and contains far fewer genes then that of a female chromosome. Some data suggests that some of these genes are linked to higher rate of diseases that may lead to death.

From a mental perspective, men often find themselves working harder to a point of stress, overwhelm and with no point of release. This increases the risk of hypertension, heart attacks and stroke. Type A personalities are also at a risk of developing stress as they become obsessive towards their goals and often do not priorities relaxation and life balance.

Social pressures play a bit part in the gap between men and woman. As men find it difficult to express their emotions and be vulnerable. Women tend to feel more comfortable to express their emotions, allowing them the ability to build better interpersonal relationships. This leads to stronger connections and better emotional support which reduces the risks of sickness, ranging from cold and flus to depression and heart attacks.

Behavioural factors also play a role in why women live longer than men. The frontal lobe in a man’s brain which is the judgment centre assesses consequences. This develops more slowly in men than women. This means men are generally more likely to take bigger risks, which can be fatal including drink driving, biking, excess drinking, and drugs. They may have more riskier jobs such as working in the military, construction, and firefighting. Men tend to seek treatment for the health concerns far less than women, which can lead to more severe health concerns and even death if left untreated for too long. 

Regardless of the biological, social, and behavioural factors putting men at a more vulnerable position than woman, all factors can be prevented and helped. It’s important to keep on top of your health, your mind, your connections with loves ones and get the support you need to live a long happy life.

 

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