3 Diseases That Affect Older Women More Than Men

Although research shows that women live longer than men, that does not necessarily mean they are healthier. Both women and men are likely to develop chronic conditions as they age, and women tend to die of some of the same conditions as men, including heart disease. That being said, there are certain diseases and conditions that are more likely to affect women than men. 

1. Arthritis

x-ray picture of a knee bone/joiny
More than half of seniors have arthritis, and women experience the worst of it. 

As we age, our joints begin to degrade, causing our bones to rub against each other. This can cause inflammation in our joints, and lead to arthritis, particularly in the knees, elbows, ankles and fingers. More than half of all seniors over the age of 65 have arthritis, but this condition tends to affect women more than men. Not only are women more likely to get arthritis, but they are more likely to experience worse pain in their joints than men are, and are more vulnerable to rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which is a more debilitating form of arthritis

There are multiple reasons why more women are affected by arthritis than men:

  • Joint stability– Because women’s bodies are built for childbirth, their tendons have the ability to move around more making them more elastic and more likely to sustain injuries.
  • Obesity– Studies show that obesity is more common in women than men, and extra weight puts a lot of strain on the joints.
  • Hormones– As estrogen levels decrease, the hormones that cushion the cartilage deteriorate as well, causing inflammation.

If you’re one of the many older women suffering from arthritis, it is best to stay as active as possible, so that you do not lose your range of motion, and can lose weight if you need to. You should also consider working out with weights to build muscle around your joints. 

2. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and more susceptible to breakage, is the most common form of arthritis. Of the 10 million Americans who are diagnosed with osteoporosis, 80% of them are women. This is because women’s bones tend to be smaller and less dense than men’s bones, and because hormonal changes (as mentioned above) in older women’s bodies lead to bone loss.

In order to slow down osteoporosis and bone loss, you should avoid smoking and drinking alcohol, get plenty of exercise (especially weighted workouts), and eat a healthy diet that is rich in calcium and vitamin D.

3. Heart Disease

It often surprises people to find out that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women in the U.S. Approximately 70% of women aged 60-79 are diagnosed with heart disease, and 87% of women over 80 have some form of cardiovascular disease. Heart disease can lead to strokes, which is the third leading cause of death in American women. The CDC estimates that 1 in 5 American women will have a stroke, and more than half will die from it. 

graph of heart disease with stats in each bubble.

It is possible to prevent heart disease, or at least treat it even after experiencing a heart attack or stroke. To prevent or control heart disease, it is important to keep an eye on your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels. Stick to a healthy diet focused on vegetables and fruits, and avoid consuming too much sodium and unhealthy fat. Be sure to exercise, as well as reduce (or quit) smoking and drinking, because both increase blood pressure. 

It is no secret that women live longer than men do, but unfortunately a longer life can also mean more health problems. Women are also genetically more prone to suffer from certain health conditions like arthritis, due to hormonal changes and the elasticity of their joints. Because there are so many health conditions that can affect women, it is important to make sure that you are properly insured. Medicare Part A covers hospital stays, and Part B covers 80% of other medical expenses – the other 20% will come out of your pocket. If you have a degenerative disease such as arthritis or heart disease, it is important to seek consistent treatment; this can become costly, but a Medicare Supplement Plan will pay for these costs. 

There are a variety of Medicare Supplement Plans that provide different levels of coverage at different price points. If you are interested in getting more information about Medicare Supplement Plans so that you can save money on your medical bills, EZ.Insure can help. We will connect you with an agent who will assess your needs, compare plans in minutes, and find ways to help save you hundreds of dollars. To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to one of our licensed agents, call 888-753-7207.

About The Author:
Cassandra Love

With over a decade of helpful content experience Cassandra has dedicated her career to making sure people have access to relevant, easy to understand, and valuable information. After realizing a huge knowledge gap Cassandra spent years researching and working with health insurance companies to create accessible guides and articles to walk anyone through every aspect of the insurance process.

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