Why is it so important that women keep themselves in optimal health? Gender bias in health & disease

Women tend to live longer than men.

Women also tend to suffer with more chronic illnesses than men.

So we live longer but have a higher rate of illness.

It is therefore really important that women focus on maintaining optimal health.

Firstly you will likely need it for longer to see you through old age.

Secondly women need to try and stave off the higher rates of disease that we see.

Men tend to get more diseases that kill them, cardiovascular risks for example. Women tend to get more chronic long term illnesses and have to live longer with them.

Let's take the obvious older age related illness of dementia, two thirds of people with dementia are women. 80% of people with autoimmune diseases, the most prevalent chronic illnesses in the world, are you guessed it women.

These are illnesses that we tend to suffer with for a long time, for many years.

It's important to work in a preventative way to stave them off for as long as possible.

We've talked before about how hormones are likely to play a role in this gender bias, but new research from the University of Georgia has now found another reason, the way in which women store nutrients in their bodies, which is different to men.

On average women store more body fat than men, this is to help create a pool of nutrients for women during pregnancy, however it means that means that there is less available for other areas of the body like the brain. This explains why women are more at risk of degenerative and neurological disease. This is interesting research coming through.

The nutrients they are specifically talking about in this research are carotenoids, these act as antioxidants in the body. Two lutein and zeaxanthin are found in the brain and are known to have a direct link to brain health and central nervous system degeneration.

"Men and women eat about the same amount of these carotenoids, but the requirements for women are much higher...recommendations need to be changed so that women are aware that they have these vulnerabilities that they have to proactively address, so they don't have problems in later life." ~ Professor Billy Hammond, Behavioural and Brain Sciences, University of Georgia.

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