Saturday, July 25, 2009

Why Women live Longer

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Just check out names of people who have lived-or are still living beyond 100 in the last few years. A quick look of the Guinness book of world records and the world's population figures will easily attest to a phenomenon now referred to a "feminization of aging". Edna Parker Oldest Living Person (114 years and 115 days) 105-year old Edith Gulliford (UK) as the Oldest Bridesmaid. French woman Jeanne Calmet, she died at the age 122 in 1997.

In most Asia-Pacific countries alone, more than half of the people aged 60 and above are females. Elderly woman from South Korea and Japan lead the pack, comprising 59 and 56 percent of their senior population, respectively. They are followed closely by women from Australia (55 percent), Indonesia 54, and Malaysia and the Philippines 53 percent. Feminization of aging, according to the United nations, is the trend women outliving men by an average of seven years, giving rise to health problems and issues specific tothe female gender.

But that women live longer than men is as much true today as it was during the early centuries. The only difference now is that the average life span then until around the 1800s was never more than 30 years years. by the turn of the 20th century life expectancy rose to around century-another milinnium-just turned again, average longevity is pegged at 76.

Why women outlive men is due to various biological and social factors. First and foremost among biological factors is estrogen, the female hormone, which help protect women, atleast until menopause, from certain diseases. For instance, estrogen helps remove damaging blood fats and prevents blood clots that lead to heart disease. Testosterone, the male sex hormone, does the opposite. Recent studies also suggest that estrogen helps to protect brain cells and prevent neurodegenerative diseases associated with aging.

Body shape may also be factor. The paunch that men develop maybe a more dangerous kind of fat than the excess fat women accumulate around their thighs and hips. For some reasons scientist have yet to explain, women's immune systems are also stronger than men's. Even as babies, women are more resilient than men.

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