Hearts Age Differently in Men and Women
The hearts of men and women age differently, suggesting that different treatments for heart failure may be needed for each gender, according to a study at Johns Hopkins University.
The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on 3,000 participants over time to examine how the heart changes at it ages.
The MRI scans allowed researchers to observe the interior and exterior of the human heart in 3D and allowed them to record size, volume, and weight of the heart muscle
Their findings, published in the journal Radiology, found several significant differences between the aging patterns of male and female hearts.
They found that the left ventricle heart muscle thickened in men as they aged while shrinking slightly in women – both contributors to age-related heart failure.
Also, by measuring the amount of blood held in the left ventricle between heartbeats, researchers observed that the hearts’ filling capacity reduced in both men and women, although slightly more so in women.
Around 5 million Americans have heart failure, a condition where the heart muscle becomes "floppy" and weak and less able to pump blood around the body.
To reduce the risk of developing the disease, cardiologists prescribe drugs that boost cardiovascular performance by reducing heart muscle thickness. However, the researchers suggest this strategy may benefit men more than women.