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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 17 December, 2018

8 myth-busting health truths every woman should know

From alcohol’s effect on your brain to the safest part of the world to live in.

Image: Shutterstock

FROM WELLNESS ADVICE to fitness tips to medical research, the amount of health information available with one smartphone scroll or touchscreen tap is staggering.

It’s easy to fall into a tailspin of diet how-tos and workout tutorials, with no real sense of what the facts are.

As part of our ongoing Wellness For Life series with Vitabiotics, one of Ireland’s leading vitamin suppliers, we’re laying down no-nonsense health advice for people all over Ireland.

This week: women. Here are eight myth-busting health facts every female should wise up on to help maintain their wellbeing now and in the longer-term…

1. Worldwide, women live an average of four years longer than men

photo-1483909796554-bb0051ab60ad Source: Unsplash

That’s according to the World Health Organisation’s statistics, based on life expectancy figures from all over the world. Here in Ireland, that gender gap increases even more. The average Irish woman will live to 82.8 years, 4.4 years longer than the average Irish man.

In fact, since records began in 1926, Irish female life expectancy has jumped by a huge 24.9 years.

2. And your cancer risk is lower, too

shutterstock_535504183 Source: Shutterstock/Branislav Nenin

While cancer is the cause of one in six deaths worldwide right now, the incidence of cancer in females is lower than males. In Ireland, one in every three men are diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime (up to 75), compared to one in every four women.

Of course, that’s not to say you’re in the clear if you’re female. Here in Ireland, an average of 40,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year, with non-melanoma skin cancer and breast cancer the top two most common cancers for women.

3. There is one *very* enjoyable way to improve your health as you age

shutterstock_580112398 Source: Shutterstock/Twinsterphoto

Get planning your next night in, because enjoying “frequent and satisfying” sex during  adult life could protect women from health problems like hypertension as they age, according to a study of over 2,000 adults at Michigan State University.

This hidden benefit only applies to the fairer sex, though. In the same study, older men who “found sex with their partner extremely enjoyable or pleasurable” were shown to have a risk of cardiovascular events that was twice as high as sexually inactive men.

4. Speaking of sex, we’re having a lot of it

shutterstock_620022425 Source: Shutterstock/limonstrik

If you live in Ireland, you’re part of a country that’s more fertile than almost all of the rest of Europe. Birth rates for 2016 (the most recent available) showed 64,000 live births in Ireland, putting our fertility rate second only to France in the European rankings of 28 countries.

5 …But we’re choosing to have kids later than ever

shutterstock_465843752 Source: Shutterstock/Africa Studio

Irish women are waiting steadily longer to have kids, in many cases well beyond age 30. The average age of a woman giving birth in Ireland is now 31.9 years, up from 30.5 years in 2006.

When you break the figures down by age group, the increase in age becomes even clearer. In 2015, 34% of women were 35 or older giving birth, compared to 26% in 2006.

6. Want to feel safer as a woman? Move to Australia (or Malta)

shutterstock_661526194 Source: Shutterstock/happydancing

Australia is currently the safest country in the world for a woman, according to an analysis of crime statistics in the 2018 Global Wealth Migration Review. If you don’t fancy moving that far afield, Malta, Poland, Monaco and Iceland all made the top ten too.

As part of the review, researchers examined the numbers of females who were victims of serious crimes worldwide in the past year.

7. Alcohol affects female and male brains differently

shutterstock_545037805 Source: Shutterstock/littlenySTOCK

It’ll come as no surprise that brain function in young people is changed by long-term alcohol use, but the level of changes significantly differ by gender.

A Finnish research group compared men and women in their mid-twenties who had a heavy 10-year alcohol use to those who had little or none. Overall, the male subjects showed more changes in brain electrical functioning than the women did.

8. And the age you hit menopause at can have significant health consequences

shutterstock_535784803 Source: Shutterstock/Africa Studio

The average age for menopause in Ireland is 52, and while some age variation is normal, the later it happens, the better news for your health.

Women with early or normal onset menopause are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than those with late onset (over 55) years, Dutch research showed last year. Additionally, early onset menopause is linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Ensure you’re at the top of your health game with the Wellwoman range. Wellwoman supplements include vitamins B6, B12 and iron, contributing to normal energy release and immune system function. Available in pharmacies, healthstores and leading supermarkets nationwideCheck out the full range here.

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