There’s no question that men and women age differently. Obviously, genetics, lifestyle, nutrition, and environment affect how people of either gender age, but the rate and way that men and women age is completely different.
Not only do the male and female body respond differently to aging, the male and female psychology differs greatly as well. Taken together, aging for men and women can be an entirely different experience. Let’s look at the main ways aging is different for men and women.
It’s a simple fact that, almost everywhere in the world, women live longer than men. Some think that the reason for a longer life expectancy for women is that men often participate in more dangerous activities and tend to have more dangerous occupations, like being in the armed forces.
That explains some, but not all, of the differences. Other explanations include the fact that women are more likely to see a doctor and possibly be diagnosed earlier with health problems.
Whatever the reason, the bottom line is that women live years longer than men worldwide. In the United States, the average life expectancy is 78.6 years for both genders. For women, it’s 81.1 years and for men, it’s 76.1 years.
Sex and aging are very different for men and women. A woman’s body responds to aging dramatically with menopause while a man’s body responds more gradually.
Different hormones are affected by aging for men and women as they age. For women, estrogen and aging are a major concern, especially during menopause and after. For men, testosterone and aging are the dominant hormonal component of aging.
Brain aging is also different for men and women. Men who are overweight, diagnosed with diabetes, or have had a stroke are more likely to suffer from cognitive impairment. Women, however, are more likely to suffer from cognitive impairment if they were dependent on others for daily tasks and lacked a strong social network.
Centenarians and Aging
As for people who make it to 100 or beyond, called centenarians, men and women can both get to this age, though women are more likely to make it than men. However, there are some differences between men and women who make it to age 100, including:
- 24 percent of male centenarians and 43 percent of female centenarians fit the profile of “survivors.” These are people who had a diagnosis of at least one of the age-related illnesses before age 80.
- 32 percent of men and 15 percent of women over 100 fit the profile of “escapers” or people who did not have any major health conditions.
- 44 percent of men and 42 percent of women over 100 are “delayers” or people who did not have a major diagnosis until after the age of 80.
The take-home message here is that men who make it to 100 are much more likely to be “lucky” than women, who seem to be able to endure long-term illnesses better.
Men, here is a list of screenings and tests that you should have done to make sure you catch disease and illness early. Some of these tests are the same for women, but many are different. Women, this is the list for you. Check it out and be sure to schedule your appointments.