If you are a woman living in a wealthy country, you can call yourself lucky. You have better chances to live longer and feel healthier. This is the result of a new study organized by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Everything is counted when you talk about life expectancy: your age and weight, education and income, healthy relatives and marital status, fitness and number of cigarettes or drinks per day, even your habit of wearing a seat belt when you drive. Every little detail may affect your life expectancy. Now you have to add your country to the list because medium income and educational level of an average citizen, as well as the country’s medical system may affect you as well.
There is good news for everybody in this study, especially the female gender. Life expectancy of women over 50, according to WHO, increased everywhere over the last 20-30 years regardless of the country you live in.
The main cause of death in women over 50 is also similar worldwide: cardiovascular disease that encompasses heart attacks, strokes, and other disease affecting the heart and blood vessel system and cancers.
The bad news is that if you are living in a poor country, you will probably suffer from these diseases starting at earlier age and die earlier.
While champions of life expectancy, the Japanese women, according to WHO, are expected to live until the age of 86, women from Sierra Leone until 47. Life expectancy of American women is 81, Chinese – 77, Canadian – 84, and India – 67.
See the difference?
That is not all. The gap between the life expectancy in rich and poor countries is still increasing. Why?
Experts on women’s health from WHO tried to analyze the reasons comparing life conditions and health treatment women get in different countries. Again, the good news for poor areas is that level of maternal mortality decreased everywhere. But what really differentiates wealthy countries from low or middle income ones is early detection and treatment of noncommunicable disease that don’t transfer from person to person.
Early detection and treatment is the main reason for dramatic decrease of death from stomach, colon, breast and cervix cancers and cardiovascular disease including high blood pressure among women over 50 in the developed world. In lower income countries, prevention and treatment of noncommunicable diseases are still a very big problem, and that is why chronic diseases including diabetes kill women earlier there.
Prophylactic, prevention and treatment – these are the magic words for women’s health that still give hope to everybody. Even if life expectancy is higher in rich countries, and you are not a lucky one, you still can make a difference. It is all about your choice to live longer and healthier. Health is not only the treatment given to you in a hospital, though it is needed when it is needed. Health is about our everyday life including eating habits, exercise plan, stress management, life style. We are what we eat, what we do, what we want. So make your life better, and live longer.
Written by Alsu Salakhutdinov