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Aging: Men and Women Do It Differently

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But for most women, aging results in thinner or finer hair rather than substantial loss of hair.

Weight

In general, both men and women tend to gain weight as they age. In men, the hormone testosterone helps sustain muscle tissue. So around age 50 when a decrease in testosterone becomes apparent, men often start losing weight because they are losing muscle mass.

For women, the tendency to gain weight continues for another 15 or more years. Women typically don’t start losing weight due to loss of muscle mass until about age 65.

Brain Function

Men and women also have different risks of mental impairment as they age. In general, a man’s risk of cognitive impairment increases if he is overweight, has diabetes or has had a stroke. A woman’s risk decreases if she is able to live independently without having to rely on others for daily help, and if she has a strong social network.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one out of six women will develop Alzheimer’s at age 65, compared to one out of eleven men. Overall, women in their sixties are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s sometime during their remaining years as they are to get breast cancer.

Disease

None of us is safe from disease as we get older. But in general, men tend to become sick at an earlier age than women. While women are more likely to develop heart disease, men are five times more likely to experience an aortic aneurysm, which is a weak spot or bulge in wall of the major blood vessel leaving the heart. Men are also more likely to die from a heart attack at an earlier age than women.

Life Expectancy

Overall, women have a longer time to experience old age than men. That’s because women are likely to live about five years longer than men. On average, women can expect to live to about age 81.2, while men can only anticipate living to be 76.4 years old, according to the CDC.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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