Yay! Women's Life Expectancy Growing

Good news for women.  More of us are living past 50.  According to a story at The New York Times, "Life expectancy for women who live to age 50 is going up around the world, but poor and middle-income countries could easily make greater gains, according to a new World Health Organization report."

Donald G. McNeil Jr. reports that, since "Heart disease, stroke and cancer kill most women over 50," according to Dr. John R. Beard, director of the W.H.O.'s department of aging, "Countries should focus on lowering blood pressure with inexpensive drugs and screening for cervical and breast cancer."

Those diseases can be prevented or treated, McNeil quotes Dr. Beard, who was also an author of the study, which was published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.

But we still have challenges ahead.  Smoking, obesity and excessive drinking still kill many in their younger years.

McNeil notes that Japanese women live longest, but women in most countries now live longer than they did 40 years ago.  Experts attribute this to progress against infectious diseases like flu, tuberculosis and pneumonia. "Some countries have improved less than others: South Africa has an AIDS epidemic, Russian women suffered when the Soviet health system collapsed, and growing prosperity in Mexico has led to more lung cancer and obesity-related diabetes," McNeil points out.

And we shouldn't forget about sex, and older women.  Yes, they do still have it, and they should be checked for sexually transmitted diseases just as their younger counterparts are, McNeil writes.  More than 30% of the people living with HIV/AIDS in this country are over 50 and it's projected to go up to half of those living with the diseases in just two years.    

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