Home Health Women are biologically designed to live longer

Women are biologically designed to live longer

After analyzing the survival rates in populations affected by calamities, a new study downplays social and psychological factors.

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What accounts for this difference? Scientists do not know exactly the causes. While some attributed it to the increase in heart disease among men from the nineteenth century, perhaps related to harmful habits and diet, others have suspected the X chromosome missing men or the influence of testosterone.

A new investigation, carried out by experts from Germany and Denmark, is now trying to shed new light on the issue by focusing on the  historical records of populations that have gone through different calamities,  to compare the survival rate between the two sexes.

The scientists collected the demographic data of former slaves from Trinidad and the United States, who were freed in West Africa and suffered a great mortality in the early 19th century, probably due to lack of immunity against tropical diseases; victims of hunger in Sweden, Ireland and Ukraine in the Contemporary Era, and Icelanders who suffered a terrible epidemic of measles between 1846 and 1882, among others.

Girls are more resistant

The first conclusion is that  the women of all those places and times lived six months and four years more as an average than their male countrymen, although both suffered equally the consequences of disasters. For example, during the potato famine   that struck Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century, life expectancy plummeted among men to 18.17 years, while women lived on average 22.4, when before food crisis both groups reached 38 as average.

In addition, when analyzing the data by age group, the researchers observed that  distance was maintained in infant mortality rates: girls were more resistant than boys. This points to biological bases to explain female longevity, which would take away from factors traditionally proposed to explain the phenomenon, such as the tendency to resort to violence, unhealthy habits – tobacco, alcohol, drugs… – or the riskier behaviors that tend to occur. adopt males more frequently.

The genes or hormones, then, would be the main responsible for this disparity. For example, it has been proven that female estrogens reinforce the immune system  against infectious diseases, while men’s testosterone could have the opposite effect. The mere fact of being born a woman gives more ballots to reach old age, even if they come very badly.

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