Health Disparities: Why Do Women Live Longer Than Men?
On average, men’s lives are less healthy—and shorter—than women’s. This health disparity exists in part because women take better care of themselves than men do. But several recent studies have found that in many cases, a man and a woman with the exact same condition may respond to it quite differently. Logic would dictate that they would require different treatments, but we tend to have a unisex approach to medicine (except, of course, to sex-specific conditions such as cervical and prostate cancers). Unfortunately, that approach can be deadly. Here are just a few examples.
Men with elevated cholesterol levels are more likely to suffer a deadly heart attack than women with the same condition, according to Erik Madssen of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. For a dozen years, Madssen’s team tracked more than 44,000 men and women 60 and under, all with high cholesterol. Over the course of the study, one third as many women as men suffered fatal heart attacks (157 women vs. 553 men). But when you consider that fewer men participated in the study than women (23,525 women and 20,725 men), men actually died at four times the rate as women.
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