Women Living Longer, but Struggling More

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Multimorbidity and the Importance of Holistic MedicineAlthough women live longer than men, they might be struggling harder to do it.

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new life expectancy numbers for America. Americans are now expected to live longer than ever, with an average life expectancy of 78.8 years. Men are expected to live 76.4 years, while women should last about five years longer, meaning 81.2 years, on average.

But these numbers might not tell the whole story. According to a recent international study, women are also far more likely than men to be suffering from multiple health conditions.

The research indicated that women might be suffering from “multimorbidity” up to 62% more than men, which is definitely cause for concern.

“Multimorbidity” refers to multiple health conditions. For example, a person with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer has multimorbidity. As you might imagine, the more health conditions you’re suffering from, the more difficult your life likely is.

What’s even more concerning than the wide discrepancy between women and men is that multimorbidity is becoming more common in young people. It’s pretty much par for the course for people over 65 to have a couple of health conditions, but when it’s affecting young people, it leads to some more questions.

This study shows me three things:

  • First, it shows me that research is typically conducted on men, which fails to address female symptoms. For example, men and women are affected by heart disease differently.
  • It also shows me that because it’s occurring in younger people, it might be tied to cultural and lifestyle decisions, like diet.
  • And lastly, it shows the healthcare system needs to change and adopt a more holistic approach, as opposed to specific conditions that are separate from each other.

These results show how closely intertwined various health conditions are, especially for women. Because we know that obesity is closely tied to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers, it’s clear certain lifestyles increase the chances of multimorbidity. Each of these conditions can cause premature death, lower your quality of life, and lead to even further complications.

Your best defense from acquiring multiple health conditions is to understand that your body works as a whole. Keep things intact by making smart decisions regarding diet and lifestyle.

Sources for Today’s Article:
University of Exeter, “Older Women More Likely to Have Multiple Health Conditions,” ScienceDaily web site, October 14, 2014; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141014095214.htm.
Copeland, L., “Life Expectancy in The USA Hits Record High,” USA Today web site, October 9, 2014; http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/10/08/us-life-expectancy-hits-record-high/16874039/.

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