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How old does the average person live to and do women live longer than men?

Claire Toureille September 26, 2018

Bad news. To quote the post-modern poet Lana Del Rey, we’re “born to die.” The good news is, we get to live first, die second.

The amount of time that we get to spend on Earth is not up to us, but statisticians can give us a rough idea of what to expect when it comes to life expectancy.

Stats for life expectancy in the UK recently released by the Office of National Statistics (ONSreveal that life expectancy for 2015 to 2017 was 79.2 for men and 82.9 for women.

Men notoriously die earlier than women. Worldwide, the average lifespan for women is seven years longer than men. Several health stats can help explain this deadly gender gap.

The heart of the matter

Men in the UK die three years earlier than women. (stock)

Studies found that men are 50 percent more like to suffer a heart attack than women and they experience them earlier in life, too.

According to Harvard Health, on average, men are more likely to have a heart attack from the age of 65 onwards, whereas it usually affects women over 72. However, because it happens so late in life, women are less likely to survive a heart attack when it does occur.

One of the common ideas is that men work harder jobs than women, and work themselves into an early grave. While this was true about a century ago, it doesn’t really apply to the modern man. Women and men tend to work the same jobs and have similar lifestyles.

A few differences remain that are hard to explain.

For instance, male smokers smoke more cigarettes than female smokers. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, men are more likely to skip doctor’s appointments, which can eventually lead to their demise.

Of course, both men and women live longer now than they did a hundred years ago. However, the gap remains, possibly because women take better advantage of modern health treatments.

Experts have observed that female specimen across species tend to outlive their male counterparts, which suggests female individuals have a natural advantage when it comes to living long lives.

Women’s biological secret weapon

Women have a biological advantage when it comes to ageing. (pexels)

Women have biological advantage for longer lives that is actually written in their genes. Women have two X chromosomes, while men only have one.

“When a mutation of one of the genes of the X chromosome occurs, females have a second X to compensate,” Bertrand Desjardins, a researcher in the demography department of the University of Montreal explained in the Scientific American, “whereas all genes of the unique X chromosome of males express themselves, even if they are deleterious.”

Desjardins adds that female hormones such as oestrogen help with longevity, so women are predisposed to ageing better than their male counterparts.

So, there you have it, when it comes to longevity, biology’s on women’s side.

More: death, female biology, gender gap, heart attack, life expectancy, male biology, men die before women, men women difference, office national statistics, ONS, why do men, why do women, women outlive men

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