For most of human history, we have not needed to wonder who lives longer: men or women? However, towards the end of the 19th century, women suddenly began outliving men
There are many hypothesized reasons why women live longer than men. Therefore, this has been a fascinating area of research for many scientists.
With advances in clean water, antibiotics and education about nutrition, humans began living longer. But despite the changes that the 20th century brought, men still lagged behind women in life expectancy. Did the industrial revolution only benefit women?
Animals studies, however, showed some interesting counter-arguments to that. While the human animal is somewhat unique with its females outliving males, other species vary widely. Except for the apes. They obviously did not create for themselves an industrial revolution, but their females outlive males.
Information gathered from the Human Mortality Database reveals the known history of mortality based on sex
Collected data shows that as far back as 1751, in Sweden, women lived longer. 38 countries have all contributed records to the database, and it is unanimous that women live longer.
In fact, 90% of super-centenarians, that is, people who live beyond 100, are women. And data derived from Iceland showed that despite catastrophes such as volcanoes, disease epidemics, and famine, women still were living longer.
For some diseases, women are more prone to die earlier. Things like Alzheimer’s kills more women than men. Other diseases don’t even discriminate. Stroke kills just as many women as men.
However, more common diseases are more likely to affect males. Furthermore, this appears to be a combination of men’s different genetic makeup, and hormones. Women have a double set of genetic codes, thanks to having xx chromosomes. What this means is that they get “spare” genes to use when problems arise. Men don’t have this advantage, as along with their y, they only have a single x chromosome.
Hormones also play a significant role in differentiating males and females
Male bodies surge with testosterone, which causes men to be more prone to risk-taking and bravado. Subsequently, this can lead to more accidents and consequently death.
Testosterone drives a man to physical action, his part in the reproductive process is brief. Ultimately, this is so he may set about actively creating a protective barrier for his offspring and their nurturer, their mother.
Human infants and mothers are extremely vulnerable in the early days. Furthermore, babies are solely dependent on its parents, and the mother is its source of nutrition. Also, for the first six weeks after birth, a mother can bleed to death if she exerts herself too much. The reason being that the placenta site is a giant open wound.
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