In honor of International Women’s Day, today we’re going to focus on some surprising facts about women’s health. You already know that women live longer than men, but did you know these facts about women?
- On the whole, women have less cancer than men.
- Premenopausal women are less likely to develop heart disease.
- Postmenopausal women can actually benefit from gaining extra weight.
The reasons that women live longer than man are varied. Men tend to have health problems earlier in life. They are also more prone to accidents and death caused by reckless behavior in their youth.
On the flip side, women are more prone to heart attacks after menopause, have a higher chance of suffering from depression, and make up 80% of osteoporosis sufferers. Women also seem to suffer from more pain and pay more for healthcare throughout their lifetimes.
One large problem with women’s health is most studies that inform the way we think about and treat disease have been done primarily on men. For many years, drugs were mainly tested in men, partially out of concerns that women in studies may get pregnant and the drugs would affect their children. Doctors and scientists are now realizing that many drugs on the market now affect women and men differently.
Women also tend to have different symptoms than men when it comes to certain diseases. For instance, women suffering from a heart attack may not feel chest pressure or arm pain. More often, the symptoms show up as stomach discomfort, dizziness, or fatigue. The signs can be mistaken for acid reflux or even the flu.
Even when it comes to eating healthy, women’s needs can differ from men’s. Women need fewer calories in a day than men. But that also means the calories they take in need to be more nutrient-rich. Women also need more iron and healthy protein because menstruation can lead to an iron-deficiency. Calcium also plays a bigger role in women’s health, especially closer to menopause.
Exercising should also be approached differently by men and women. By virtue of their build, there are certain exercises women cannot physically do, such as pull-ups. But women tend to be better with workouts that require coordination, such as dance-based exercise classes. Workouts should also factor in the end result. For many men, the goal is to bulk up, but for many women, it’s to tone and shape. To this end, cardio is more useful for women than weight lifting, and weight lifting with lighter weights will still give you the results you want.
Learn more about good fat in women.