There are significant biological, psychological, and health-related differences between men and women. Here are the biggest ones.
While the two genders (or other genders) can each do anything the other can do in day to day life, these differences may affect the way we perceive the world, the way we behave to some extent, and our health.
Because the genders are different, there are some health concerns that affect them differently, both positively and negatively.
Women Live Longer Than Men
It has been known for some time that women often outlive men. This is a universal trend seen in countries all over the world. And perhaps it is part of the reason that there tend to be more male than female babies.
Harvard Health Publishing offers several reasons that women might outlive men falling into biological, social, and behavioral factors.
1. Social Factors
Social factors include work stress and having fewer social connections.
Some health risks have been connected to overworking, stressful environments, and Type A personalities.
These can affect both genders, but in Western cultures, it has been mostly a concern for men for many generations.
Women should beware of this problem as more of them enter the work field.
Women also tend to have more social connections which are significant because studies show that having a healthy social life or being married are connected to longevity as well.
2. Behavioral Factors
There are plenty of possible behavioral factors that contribute to a shorter life span for men.
These include risky or aggressive behavior and the fact that women are more likely to be concerned with health and less likely to be addicted to nicotine or alcohol than men.
The good news is that these are preventable problems, but they may be something that entire communities need to work on.
For example, if men are more aggressive than women and it is because they are socialized to be that way, then we all need to find better strategies to raise boys to:
- Deal with their feelings;
- Resolve conflicts;
- Spend time doing productive activities.
3. Biological Factors
Finally, there are biological factors that affect men’s health and longevity differently than women. One of these is genes and chromosomes.
The smaller Y chromosome in men may be linked with some health diseases and a man doesn’t necessarily have the advantage of another healthy gene on the X chromosome to offset any problems.
Men are also more likely to get a plethora of health problems than women including liver disease, inguinal hernias, and aortic aneurysms.
However, there are other health problems that will affect women more than men. Women are more at risk for osteoporosis and reproductive-related diseases, or conditions including the many risks associated with pregnancy and childbirth.
Men Lose Weight Faster Than Women
It turns out that there are differences in the way that men and women lose weight as well.
According to WebMD, men have leaner muscles (which means more metabolism), more testosterone, and less estrogen. All of that means that in a weight loss program for men, they will lose weight quicker, at least initially.
On the other hand, women tend to keep their weight longer and they naturally have a higher percentage of body fat than men do.
However, if both genders continue to try to be healthier with good habits in eating and exercising, eventually they even out and lose about the same amounts.
It’s also significant to note that men and women often hold their extra weight in different areas.
Men tend to have more weight around their midlines where women hold extra weight in their hips and thighs.
Women may be jealous that men naturally have less body fat and they lose it quicker in the beginning.
But more health concerns are related to having excess fat in the belly than in other areas. Specifically, it is connected with heart health risks.
Furthermore, according to the experts, women lose body fat quickly while they exercise.
In the end, there are advantages for either gender. But keep in mind that losing weight is a process for everyone and “fat” doesn’t mean unhealthy by itself.
Differences In Healthcare
When you think of men and women’s health care, there are political discussions that might come to mind about whether or not women have access to things like birth control or abortion.
But there are many other ways that men and women differ in their relationship with healthcare and the way that they are treated when they seek health care.
For example, as already mentioned, women tend to think about health more and seek out treatment more frequently.
This 2012 study advocates for gender medicine that caters to the specific needs of both sex and gender. (Sex is based on biology and gender on lifestyle and behavior.)
This is important because men and women have different risks and respond differently to treatment.
There is still a great deal that needs to be researched concerning these differences and our healthcare systems should reflect the particular concerns affected by sex and gender to ensure the best results for everyone.
It is well known that women have made greater efforts recently in calling attention to and protesting gender inequalities in healthcare, specifically in reproductive services.
But a health treatment that considers sex and gender is not a feminist based action. It is meant to be more efficient for everyone.
There is much more that needs to be done in terms of changing the culture and researching these differences to understand how we can utilize that knowledge to better help everyone.
She said that depression and osteoporosis are thought to be women’s conditions which could mean that they are underdiagnosed (or under-researched) in men.
Women are under-represented in early and clinical cardiovascular trials.
Furthermore, more tests are done on male mice who are far more affected by treatment than females, even though outcomes between the two can be very different.
If we are going to have equal healthcare for men and women, it must extend beyond the current campaigning for women’s reproductive rights.
We also need more research on gender-specific needs and outcomes, and how to treat them fairly.