XY's Shorter Lifespan: Why and What You Can Do

Hi guys. You may be big, muscular, strong, and fast, yet stats continue to show that women live an average of 5-to-10 years longer than you! This is NOT okay. Sean Hagberg, chief science officer of Rio Grande Neurosciences in Santa Fe, NM, and clinical assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico states, “Women outliving men is persistent across all cultures.” Hmmm.

There are multiple reasons documented for this longevity difference between men and women. So, gentlemen, please drop whatever you’re doing and read on to understand why this shorter lifespan trend exists for men and what you can do about it. (Women: You may have fathers, male life partners, sons, siblings, cousins, nephews, friends, colleagues, and other men in your lives who hold a special place in your hearts. Please be part of their health and longer life solution!)

Let’s cut right to the chase and look at a variety of reasons why men are currently outlived by women.

1)       According to Dr.Vincent Giampapa, a New Jersey board-certified anti-aging physician and chief medical officer of CellHealth Institute in NJ, people who are taller than 6’ live shorter lives than people who are 6’ and under.

2)       Higher levels of estrogen in women protect them from heart disease for 10-to-15 years longer than men.

3)       Women are born with longer telomers, (components at the end of chromosomes that act as an index of cell age). People with longer telomers have healthier and stronger immune systems and, thus, tend to live longer.

4)       While greater muscle mass in men equates to a higher metabolism and more ease at losing weight, the higher “burn factor” also means “burning through” stem cells faster, (the cells used in certain surgeries enabling people and their injured body part to regenerate.)

5)       Hagberg states that “Genetically speaking, two X chromosomes (female) beats XY (males) most of the time. Boys born with a problem on the X chromosome typically don’t survive.”

It may seem as though, given the above, that there’s nothing a man can do to positively alter the lifespan gap between the sexes. But, that would be an incorrect conclusion. For all the above reasons and more, it’s super important for men to establish and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Basics like walking, eating a clean, nutritious, and healthy diet, (that you enjoy!), stopping smoking and excess consumption of alcohol, getting enough ZZZs, keeping hydrated with filtered water, starting off your day with a healthy breakfast, reducing sugar consumption, (sweets, desserts, sugary beverages, condiments, etc.), getting some sun but not overdoing it, moving the body, and, flossing regularly, (healthy gums support a healthy immune system by reducing harmful bacteria that cause arteries to swell as well as overall systemic inflammation), all contribute to a healthier way of being and living.

My suggestions above aren’t rocket science though. I know that many of you are aware of these things. Still, studies indicate that men are less likely than women to look after their health and see physicians. And even when a man goes to a doctor, he won’t necessarily open up and state exactly what’s going on or how he’s feeling. And, this of course is a very big problem which can potentially lead one down the shorter lifespan path.  So, then what’s getting in the way of men being responsible for their own health?

According to Marianne Legato, MD, in “Why Men Die First: How to Lengthen Your Lifespan”, there’s a strong cultural difference between the sexes that gets in the way of men from taking better care of themselves. Men are taught from childhood to “suck it up”, to “not be a wimp”, or to “man up”. Consequently and unfortunately, many men for example will frequently ignore pain to the point that it develops into a serious problem.

This cultural message also impedes men from sharing what’s going on inside. For example, men who work in negative work environments are less inclined to be social, (they keep their heads down and focus on the work), and to speak about their day-in and day-out concerns. Women, on the other hand, are more social and seem to have more patience giving the details of their day. Such hesitation on the part of men to speak openly, will lead to elevated stress levels, increased cortisol – a stress hormone, and ultimately add wear-and-tear to the body.

Moreover, even adolescent boys are at greater risk for death and injury than girls due to their higher risk nature and lifestyles. Essentially, females in general mature more quickly and thus gain greater judgement earlier in their lives. Toss in a bit of testosterone to this situation and biologically boys are more accident, injury, and death prone than their female counterparts.

It’s beyond time to cut the bravado boys and to regularly use your hearts, minds, and souls to nurture your bodies. Need just a bit more convincing? In, “Why Men Die Sooner”, in WebMD LLC by Don Fernandez, he reports the following:

1)       Coronary artery disease (CAD) is 3 times higher among men who are clinically depressed

2)       Male suicides outnumber female suicides in every age group

3)       Homicide and suicide are among the top 3 causes of death among males between the ages of 15 and 34.

Men, you can challenge the current status of things and live fuller, healthier, and longer lives alongside the women of the world.  Yes, it starts by adopting a healthier lifestyle and habits as I’ve described above. But, there’s even more to it than that. Become more social. Reduce stress. Go to see your doctor and speak frankly. Get assessed for your risk of coronary disease. Reach out to healthcare practitioners beyond MDs including chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, nutritionists, anti-aging specialists, health coaches, psychotherapists, and others.

Above all, don’t ignore symptoms. That’s our body’s way of communicating to us, in particular if something is not right. So men of the world, “man up” now by taking care of yourselves. Even if you feel okay. Establishing and maintaining good health includes getting annual healthcare checkups to stay on top of your health needs and to keep things on track. Finally, have fun guys! Seriously. Make time to play, talk, get away, and to take things down a notch from the same-old, same-old challenging, daily scenario. Smiling, laughing, and breathing go a very long way. You should go a very long way as well!

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