In this world there are about 5 biological sexes out of which the XY and XX being the most populous one commonly termed as male and female or men and women. There has been an ongoing debate upon the strength of two genders where one tries to overpower the other. Where the strength between the two sexes is compared in different areas and various fields, does biological sex has any part to play in the heart streangth of these two? To our surprise biological sex plays an important role in normal cardiac physiology as well as in the heart‘s response to cardiac disease. With the heart and the cardiovascular system being one of the crucial body systems that impacts a person's overall health and wellness. In today’s world where heart attacks have become one of the most common causes of death around the globe which is being observed in people of almost all age groups, it is important to know about your heart and the factors that impact its health in order to keep your heart and yourself safe. Where the strength of a man and woman are always debated about, let us take a look at the strength of heart of both these sexes and what role does biological sex plays in it with Dr. Divya Vora, Obstetrician Gynecologist.
Difference between women’s and men’s heart
Image Credits- Cardiomich
Where the difference between the physical and biological characteristics of men and women are well known to the world, let us take a moment to understand the difference between the hearts of both genders. Where these differences will not be able to measure their emotional capacities and compassion, but surely talks about the physical characteristics and behavioral differences between the hearts of both these genders.
The world is well aware about the physical differences between the two genders based upon their appearances and biological functioning, but the internal organs that aren’t visible to the human eye often get ignored. Our heart being one such organ about which we never think enough unless some mishap happens. Here are the physical differences be
- Size- In terms of size, there is no difference between the size of a female’s and male’s heart until they hit puberty. After puberty the size of a man’s heart increases about 15-30% in size. This increase in the mass of a man’s heart size is proportional to that of his body.
- Heart Rate- Where there is a difference between the sizes of the hearts between both the genders after puberty, the case is pretty similar with the heart rate as well. As the heart rate gets impacted by the size of the heart, it results in different heart rate between both these sexes as well. On an average a full grown man’s heart beats for about 70 to 72 times a minute, whereas a woman’s heart beats for 78 to 80 times in a minute. Smaller the heart, lesser blood it would be able to pump with every beat and hence women require more number of beats per minute in order to pump blood and supply it to various body parts.
Image Credits- Considerable
- Density- We all have learnt the formula of density in school that says density is equal to the mass of an object divided by its volume. As a person’s age increases, it is followed by the increase in the wall thickness of the heart in both the sexes. It results in a loss of myocardial mass in males and this mass loss results in compensatory hypertrophy in men.
Risk of Diseases
Where a man’s heart is bigger in size as compared to that of a woman’s, a male heart beats a little slower than a female heart. Where the mass and heart rate are not the only factors on which the heart of both these sexes differ, byt the thichkrss of chamber walls and density have a major role to play as well. These physical factors are not the only ones that contribute in strengthening the heart of either of the sexes but there is more to it.
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Let us take a quick look at what Dr. Vora has to say about this. “Estradiol, also known as oestrogen, is considered as the main female hormone. It is predominantly secreted and synthesized by the ovaries in premenopausal women. Oestrogen is cardioprotective, which means that it protects the heart in several ways. It aids in the normal formation of blood vessels and helps to dilate the blood vessels for an easier blood flow.
It also limits the change in the size of heart that occurs with increasing age. Apart from this it also reduces the oxidative stress and prevents the thickening of arteries. This action eventually stops when the ovaries stop functioning which means when the menopause is attained. This means that women have a cardioprotection due to the oestrogen hormone till the age of 50 years or around. After this age is attained and menopause hits, the risk of heart attack and other heart diseases becomes equal to that of their male counterparts.”
Image Credits- Flo
As the heart protecting or the cardioprotective hormone oestrogen has a key role in keeping a woman's heart healthy. This hormone plays a vital role in protecting the heart from various cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, stroke and coronary artery disease. Let us take a quick look at the ways in which this cardioprotective hormone, oestrogen helps in keeping a woman’s heart healthy-
- Promotes blood clotting
- Helps in increased blood flow by keeping the blood vessels supple and flexible.
- Helps in decreasing the LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) and increasing the HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) levels of the body.
- Absorbs damage causing free radicals
- Helps in keeping the blood pressure low.
This hormone helps in protecting a woman’s heart in various ages till the time of menopause and hence women tend to experience cardiovascular diseases and heart complications at a later stage in life as compared to their male counterparts.
This article is based upon Dr. Divya Vora’s Post on her instagram handle.