A new study has shown that heart disease is a big factor in the disparity of life expectancy ratio between men and women, with men having a shorter life expectancy due to heart-related illnesses.
According to the research, a gap in life expectancies between the sexes first emerged at the turn of the 20th century, as cures for infectious diseases emerged and diet improved, women began to reap longevity benefits much faster.
Researchers from the University of Southern California thus reviewed data from around the world and found heart disease to be behind most of the excess deaths documented in adult men.
The study examined the life span of people born between 1800 and 1935 in 13 developed nations.
Focusing on mortality in adults over the age of 40, the team found that in individuals born after 1880, female death rates decreased 70% faster than those of males.
Also it was found that cardiovascular disease appeared to still be the cause of the vast majority of excess deaths in adult men over 40 for the same time period, even when the researchers controlled for smoking-related illnesses.
Thus, the uneven impact of cardiovascular illness-related deaths on men, especially during middle and early older age, raises the question of whether men and women face different heart disease risks due to inherent biological risks or protective factors at different points in their lives.
Researchers therefore called for further study which would analyse diet and exercise activity differences between countries, as well as “deeper examination of genetics and biological vulnerability between sexes at the cell level, and the relationship of these findings to brain health at later ages.”