Why women live longer than men

By Efrosini Costa

Why women live longer than men
A new study has offered some insight into why women have a greater life expectancy than men.

While there are many exceptions to this rule, a large majority of international studies will attest to the fact that women outlive most men.

And, in case your wondering, no its not because we are better communicators, decision makers and all-round multitaskers.

In fact the real cause for why females enjoy a lengthier life may be biological, according to Japanese scientists.

Their latest study, published in the journal Immunity & Ageing, found immune function could unlock the key to a person’s true biological age.

What they found was that, on average, women’s immune systems age considerably slower than their male counterparts. As their body defences weaken, men’s increased susceptibility to a range of disease shortens their lifespan significantly.

Our immune system is our body’s natural defence from infections, viruses and even cancers – but this defence can act like a double-edged sword, as it also has the ability to cause disease when it is not properly regulated.

The Japanese study, conducted at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University, analysed the blood samples or 356 healthy men and women, ranging in age from 20 to 90.

White blood cell levels and molecules known as ‘cytokines’ – which help the immune system regulate disease response – where measured and compared.

While the number of white blood cells in each group declined with age, closer examination found differences in the levels of critical T and B cells – the first protects the body from infection and the latter secretes vital antibodies.

The rate of decline of these vital cells was found to be faster in men, who simultaneously also displayed a rapid age-related decline in cytokines.

“Our findings indicate that the slower rate of decline in these immunological parameters in women than that in men is consistent with the fact that women live longer than do men,” the study’s authors concluded.


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