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Senior Health

Men vs. Women: Who Ages Quicker?

01/04/2001

Question:

Do men age faster than women?

Answer:

Interesting question and a difficult one to answer! As to compare two living beings one should look at the genetic make-up, biologic changes and environmental exposures. Well biologically and genetically, the two (men and women) are different which intuitively could make the aging process different as well but there is a wide role of environmental influence one has to consider. Epidemiological studies show that women do live slightly longer than men and if one looks at the changes throughout life there is always a little difference when it comes to pubertal onset, physical and emotional maturity and other physiologic/hormonal indices and the same may be said for cellular senescence. Our longevity measured as `life expectancy` is a public health measure and has been changing over time and with geographic location of human beings (in the United States almost 20+ years have been added in the last 100 years, currently approaching 77 years as measured at birth). However, our `Life span` remains fixed (around 125 years for human beings, both men and women, at least for now) and to prolong or shorten this is the area of lot of experimental research (on dragon fly, cancer cells etc) at present as this may be related and give clues to the aging process and perhaps gender differences. So to sum up, it is possible that the aging process may be different in the two genders but we do not have complete information but certainly women are living longer per recent epidemiological observations (deciphering the genomic code may throw more light in the future). Thanks for an excellent question. -

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Response by:

Elizabeth Joyner Gothelf, BSN, MAG Elizabeth Joyner Gothelf, BSN, MAG
Assistant Director
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati

Arvind   Modawal, MD, MPH, MRCGP Arvind Modawal, MD, MPH, MRCGP
Professor of Family & Community Medicine, Geriatrics and Palliative Care
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati