Do men live less?

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Luciana
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Do men live less?

Post by Luciana »

So, I have a question... and you'll excuse me if it sounds stupid. But I don't remember having ever heard about it.

Perhaps I should word the question more carefully: are men wired to live less than women?

That is, if we isolate variables such as violent death and suicide... meaning that only those who led life until its natural end... would we find out that men still live less than women?

Carrying it further... we know that men have their life-expectancy reduced because of work-related stress. If I understand correctly, women are picking up those same unfortunate diseases, which are a consequence of their arrival to the work force. If we could isolate that... would men still live less than women??

I know that some animals have quite a distinct gender differentiation regarding gender. Does that hold true for humans also?

If, indeed, men live less than women... does anyone know why?

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Skeeve
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Post by Skeeve »

All of the data I know of says that after the teenage years, a man's chance of dying doubles every 7 years, and a woman's every 8 years.

Poor guys, stuck with that 'Y' thing.
Then Skank Of America could start in...

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Bearguin
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Post by Bearguin »

You do know why men die earlier, don't you?

It's because they have to live with Women.....

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Nigel
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Post by Nigel »

Interesting question. I honestly don't know, but I plan to follow this thread to see if someone more able than I can answer. That's the serious part.

[Henny Youngman]
Why do Jewish men die before their wives?
They want to.
[/Henny Youngman]

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rebecca
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Post by rebecca »

Bearguin wrote:You do know why men die earlier, don't you?

It's because they have to live with Women.....
Women have to live with women, too. :wink:

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mooseypops
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Post by mooseypops »

Along similar lines (just want to expand on the idea of "natural death") men are more prone to heart disease (which leads to stroke, heart attacks etc) than women, just because they're men . . . or so people thought. The 10 risk factors for heart disease are:

smoking
high blood pressure
high cholesterol
diabetes
gender
age
family history
obesity
diet
lack of exercise

Of the 10 risk factors, there are only three that we have no control over (gender, age, family history). However, women are catching men up in western society, because of all the other factors mentioned. Pretty encouraging that just because of your gender, doesn't necessarily mean you have a greater or lesser chance of developing heart disease. Not with all those other factors out there!

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Abraxas
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Post by Abraxas »

Men are an evolutionary adaptation. We are a way for organisms to randomise allele combinations in a way to increase variation in a population. If you look at it that way, the female of the species represents the species itself, while the male is a variant within.

Look at the drone in a bee population for a classic example. It dies soon after performing its function of inseminating the female.

It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

In that regard, males are expendable. You only need a few in a population to do the job, which is probably why men tend to be the protectors, the hunters...the all-round idiots who risk their lives for their relatives. If the traits that make us male also happen to knock a few years off our lives...well, it's not like evolution is going to care a lot.

Personally, I don't mind. Less competition for me, in my eyes. :D

Abraxas
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TruthSeeker
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Post by TruthSeeker »

There are many other reasons in addition to those stated that contribute to the increased life span of women relative to men.

1) women go to the doctor more regularly and earlier once a symptom is detected. Therefore, they are more likely to receive early diagnosis and treatment which improves outcomes.

2) estrogen plays a protective role against various illnesses including heart disease conferring a survival advantage to premenopausal women over age-matched men.

3) women tend to have better social support networks than men which also improves symptom management and protects against depression, suicide and substance abuse (very common in the elderly)

4) women are more compliant with long-term treatment regimens (e.g. taking blood pressure pills, getting regular exercise, using canes and other assistive devices) than are men

I don't have time to find citations right now but will try to do so later or tomorrow...I'm late for a meeting

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Post by Segnosaur »

TruthSeeker wrote:2) estrogen plays a protective role against various illnesses including heart disease conferring a survival advantage to premenopausal women over age-matched men.
Also, doesn't testosterone have the opposite effect, helping to supress some of the bodies self-healing functions? (You're probably more familiar with medicine than I am)
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rwald
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Post by rwald »

Yea, the rest are all societal factors, as far as I'm concerned. I would be interested in research showing that estrogen/testosterone have a direct effect on one's health.
For the record, I don't actually know anything. Not even this.

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Luciana
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Post by Luciana »

Very good answers. Thanks, TS.

So, apart from societal aspects, estrogen seems to be the answer? Meaning that yes, women are wired to live longer?

But what could be the evolutionary purpose of living too long a life, way past its ability to conceive?

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Abraxas
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Post by Abraxas »

Luciana wrote:Very good answers. Thanks, TS.

So, apart from societal aspects, estrogen seems to be the answer? Meaning that yes, women are wired to live longer?

But what could be the evolutionary purpose of living too long a life, way past its ability to conceive?
As social creatures, it is to pass on any information we possess to the next generation. That gives huge advantages to any social population. It is also to assist in raising and protection your offspring, since they share 25% of your genome.

Abraxas
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Loon
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Post by Loon »

Luciana wrote:Very good answers. Thanks, TS.

So, apart from societal aspects, estrogen seems to be the answer? Meaning that yes, women are wired to live longer?

But what could be the evolutionary purpose of living too long a life, way past its ability to conceive?
I don't know that there is a direct evolutionary advantage. More likely it is just a side effect of something more important. I.e., the things that allow women (people in general?) to "live too long a life" may just be side effects of something that greatly increased the ability of offspring to reproduce. Perhaps something a mechanism evolved that allowed estrogen to increase the chance of conception- this then resulted in an increase in estrogen; the resulting life extension just follows from the estrogen. The presence of community members beyond reproductive age did not impede communities enough to be weeded out (or to select against the increased estrogen), so we get long lives.

For some reason, the use of the word "wired" here bothers me. I tend to think of "wiring" as being neurological, but this is more of a hormonal thing.
I guess there he chose to err on the side of more votes. -[size=75]Grammatron[/size]

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Cool Hand
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Post by Cool Hand »

Abraxas wrote: Personally, I don't mind. Less competition for me, in my eyes. :D

Abraxas
Given that the predicted life-span for males in most modern Western nations born during the latter part of the 20th Century was about 72, I'm wondering if you really are interested in competing with them for the affections of similarly aged women. Personally, I'm not.

Cool Hand
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And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

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TruthSeeker
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Post by TruthSeeker »

here's an interesting editorial: http://xxvsxy.syr.edu/pdfs/Wooproofs(1).pdf

If you are interested in the issue of gender/sex diffs in health, this is an interesting (new) journal devoted to the topic. Here is the home page:

http://xxvsxy.syr.edu/index.asp

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Abraxas
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Post by Abraxas »

Cool Hand wrote:
Abraxas wrote: Personally, I don't mind. Less competition for me, in my eyes. :D

Abraxas
Given that the predicted life-span for males in most modern Western nations born during the latter part of the 20th Century was about 72, I'm wondering if you really are interested in competing with them for the affections of similarly aged women. Personally, I'm not.

Cool Hand
Woohoo!! More oldies for me!!! The one's with those shaky Parkinsons hands are the best...

Abraxas
(sorry -- my grandma has Parkinson's, and she told me a joke recently that had something to do with shaky hands...eeeww... :shock: )
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Interesting Ian
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Post by Interesting Ian »

TruthSeeker wrote:There are many other reasons in addition to those stated that contribute to the increased life span of women relative to men.

1) women go to the doctor more regularly and earlier once a symptom is detected. Therefore, they are more likely to receive early diagnosis and treatment which improves outcomes.
Yeah I hate going to the doctors.