Friday, July 24, 2015

Planning to outlast your partner

The other day I heard a comedian say that a successful marriage is when one partner gets to watch the other partner die first. Yes, that is pretty morbid, but it is also true: Marriage vows even state "til death do us part."
And most of the time, it is the wife who is still around at the end of the marriage - but why is that?

Most of us have read the statistics somewhere: Married men live longer than unmarried men (because they have a partner to take care of them), but overall, women tend to outlive men. 

Interestingly, as science has discovered (thanks, science!), women's longevity over men is a relatively new development. It turns out that up until the 19th century, men and women had similar life expectancies. Researchers started zeroing in on deaths after that time frame for people between the ages of 40 and 90 (to account for war and focus instead on chronic diseases); they found that cardiovascular disease and smoking were the main causes of men dying before women. Men are two to three times more likely to die in their 50s and 60s than their female counterparts.

Researchers also found that the shift to diets with a higher concentration of fats may cause more damage to male arteries than female arteries (or that women tend not to incorporate that food into their diets as much and are able to keep their arteries cleaner).

If all this is true, then it is preventable. So with a willing partner to make some changes, maybe women can help their men live a little longer.

Who is the healthier person in your marriage? Share in the comments.

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