A Johns Hopkins University study recently published in the Radiology journal suggested that gender may have an impact on heart aging. The long-term study used MRI scans to show how the main chamber of the heart changes with the aging process.
Here’s what we know: the left ventricle (the main chamber of the heart) fills with blood and then pumps it out into the aorta, after which the blood is distributes to smaller arteries and to the rest of the body. When a person ages, less blood enters the heart at once, and the left ventricle pumps out less of it. Heart failure is caused when the heart can’t pump enough blood to the rest of the body, and can occur in either the right or left side of the heart.
The Radiology study found that the capacity of the left ventricle to hold blood between heartbeats was reduced in both men and women over a 10-year period; however, women experienced a significantly greater decrease in this capacity. They also found that while the left ventricle muscle grew in men, it actually shrank slightly in women over time.
Researchers concluded that because of how differently the heart aged between men and women, the treatment given for heart disease prevention should take gender variations into account along with other factors such as age and family history. For example, cardiologists often prescribe medications that reduce heart muscle thickness in order to reduce the risk of heart disease for those with high risk factors, but researchers suggest women may not benefit from this strategy as much as men.
Preventative care is absolutely crucial in early detection and treatment of heart disease, regardless of gender. ZendyHealth works with board-certified radiologists who provide a variety of diagnostic imaging tests, including MRI scans and heart scans. If you’re looking to assess your risk of coronary artery disease, we could help you save 20-60 percent.