Why a wo­man’s heart beats faster than a man’s

Daily Mail - - Good Health - By TANITH CAREY

YoU may not re­alise it to look at them, but the lat­est re­search sug­gests that men and women ’s bod­ies tick ac­cord­ing to very dif­fer­ent clocks. A Cana­dian study has found that women have a cir­ca­dian rhythm, which runs be­tween 1.7 and 2.3 hours ahead of their male part­ners. This means they are likely to feel more tired ear­lier in the evening than men, ac­cord­ing to the study in the jour­nal Pro­ceed­ings of the na­tional Academy of sci­ences.

such dif­fer­ences are mainly due to the in­flu­ence of our sex hor­mones, says Dr Adam Tay­lor, a se­nior lec­turer in anatomy at Lan­caster Univer­sity med­i­cal school. ‘Th­ese hor­mones can af­fect our health in ev­ery­thing from how fast our hair grows to how quickly we blink and even how rapidly we di­gest food and al­co­hol.’

Here, we look at some other ways in which men’s and women’s bod­ies run at very dif­fer­ent speeds . . .


FooD takes a fifth longer to pass through the di­ges­tive sys­tem of a wo­man com­pared to a man, ac­cord - ing to gas­troen­terol­o­gists.

The rea­son is that women have smaller stom­achs which pro­duce less acid to break down meals.

Their slower rate of di­ges­tion is also linked to the fe­male hor­mone oe­stro­gen which seems to have a re­lax­ing ef­fect on the colon and bowel, ac­cord­ing to a study by the Amer­i­can Clin­i­cal and Cli­ma­to­log­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion.

oe­stro­gen also ap­pears to change the com­po­si­tion of di­ges­tive bile, made by the gall blad­der , so it con­tains fewer food­dis­solv­ing salts.

‘The rate of move­ment through the gut is about 20 per cent slower in women than men,’ says Dr An­ton Em­manuel, a gas­tro - en­terol­o­gist at Univer­sity Col­lege Hos­pi­tal, London. ‘The tran­sit from mouth to emp­ty­ing is about 24 hours on av­er­age in men and about 28 hours in women.’

As a re­sult of this, women tend to have less fre­quent bowel move­ments than men, he adds.


A wo­mAn’s heart is about twothirds the size of a man’s, weigh­ing an av­er­age of 120g, com­pared to an av­er­age 180g in the male.

How­ever, be­cause the fe­male or­gan is smaller, it beats slightly faster to make up for its size.

while the av­er­age male heart beats 70-72 times a minute, an adult wo­man’s beats 78-82 times a minute. How­ever heart ex­perts say this has no ef­fect on women’s over­all heart health dur­ing their life­times or the type of heart prob­lems they de­velop.

‘It’s prob­a­bly down to nu­mer - ous things such as body size, heart size and hor­mones,’ says miles Be­han, a con­sul­tant car­di­ol­o­gist at Ed­in­burgh Royal In­fir­mary.


WOMEN tend to blink more of­ten and more quickly than men — around 14.9 times a minute, com­pared to 14.5 times for men.

Again, it’s thought to be due to women’s higher lev­els of oe­stro - gen — which stim­u­lates the pro- duc­tion of lu­bri­cants, in­clud­ing in the eyes.

In­deed, the blink rate of women who take high oe­stro­gen birth con­trol pills goes up to an aver - age of 19.6 times a minute.

‘It’s pos­si­ble that the con­tra - cep­tive pills af­fect the lentic­u­lar nu­cleus, our brain’s con­trol cen­tre for in­vol­un­tary blink­ing ,’ ex­plains Har­min­der Dua, a pro­fes­sor of oph­thal­mol­ogy at not­ting­ham Univer­sity.

How­ever, the dif­fer­ence in blink rates be­tween the gen­ders makes lit­tle dif­fer­ence to our over­all eye health be­cause women are still more likely to be af­fected by dry eyes, again for hor­monal rea­sons.

Tears are made up of three lay­ers — of mu­cus, wa­ter and oil, ex­plains Glenn Carp, an eye sur­geon at the London Vi­sion Clinic. ‘men have more testos­terone which holds th­ese tears to­gether bet­ter and keeps their eyes well moist­ened,’ he says.


THERE’s a sci­en­tific rea­son why few women can drink their male coun­ter­parts un­der the ta­ble — they have less of the en­zyme that breaks down al­co­hol be­fore it en­ters the blood stream.

‘Fe­males have only about one - fifth as much al­co­hol de­hy­dro­ge­nase in their stom­achs, so women get more ef­fect, ounce for ounce, than men,’ ex­plains Dr mar­i­anne Le­gato, founder of The Foun­da­tion for Gen­der spe­cific medicine in new York.

It seems that as a re­sult, women suf­fer more the next morn­ing, too. A sur­vey by the Univer­sity of mis­souri found that women’s ex­pe­ri­ences of the most com­mon hang­over com­plaints — de­hy­dra­tion, tired­ness, head - aches, nau­sea and vom­it­ing — were more se­vere than men’s.

This may have a long -term ef­fect on women ’s health, says Dr Adam Tay­lor. ‘A high amount of al­co­hol con­sump­tion in fe­males has the po­ten­tial to show a pro­gres­sion to liver dam­age more quickly than in men.

‘This is prob­a­bly be­cause the fe­male liver is hav­ing to do more work in the first place due to fewer en­zymes be­ing pro­duced to process it.’

women have to drink only half of what men con­sume — be­tween seven to 13 drinks a week — to be at risk of al­co­hol-re­lated liver dis­ease, ac­cord­ing to a 2013 study in the jour­nal Gas­troen - terol­ogy and Hepa­tol­ogy.


on A VE­R­AGE, hu­man hair grows about 1.25cm a month.

How­ever men’s locks grow frac­tion­ally quicker — about 6.5 per cent faster — than women ’ s, ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished in the Jour­nal of In­ves­tiga­tive Der­ma­tol­ogy.

This is be­cause they have more of the male sex hor­mone testo - sterone, which stim­u­lates the fol- li­cles to pro­duce hair more quickly. How­ever, Iain sal­lis, a tri­chol­o­gist who has a clinic at The Park Hos­pi­tal, not­ting­ham, says it all evens out be­cause testos­terone also short­ens the growth cy­cle of hair (how long each strand grows for be­fore fall­ing out).

women, though, have the fe­male sex hor­mone oe­stro­gen in their bod­ies which length­ens the hair growth cy­cle.

This means that while women’s hair does not grow as quickly , it grows for longer . In Euro­pean women, hair has a growth cy­cle of around five to six years while men’s is three to five years.


IT’s An old cliche that a wo­man is more likely to ‘talk nine­teen to the dozen ’, but there may be some truth in it.

Con­tro­ver­sial re­search has found that women tend to speak faster than men, es­pe­cially in so­cial sit­u­a­tions.

one pos­si­ble rea­son is that oe­stro­gen increases ver­bal flu­ency, while testos­terone ap­pears to dampen it.

Fur­ther­more, the ma­jor ar­eas of the brain re­lated to speech in the pre­frontal cor­tex — the part of the brain that gov­erns so­cial in­ter­ac­tion — have been found to be ‘sig­nif­i­cantly larger’ in women by as much as 23 per cent, says a study in the open Anatomy Jour­nal.

Ac­cord­ing to a 2013 study , an­other fac­tor is that fe­males may have higher lev­els of a ‘lan­guage pro­tein’ in their brains, called Foxp2.

In an­i­mal ex­per­i­ments, both male and fe­male rat ba­bies were found to call out more when they had higher lev­els of this pro­tein.

The Univer­sity of mary­land re­searchers also tested sam­ples from ten boys and girls aged be­tween three and five.

This showed the girls to have 30 per cent more of the F oxp2 pro­tein than boys in brain ar­eas key to lan­guage in hu­mans.

Louann Brizen­dine, a neu - ropsy­chi­a­trist and au­thor of The Fe­male Brain, says: ‘w e know girls speak ear­lier and by the age of 20 months have dou­ble or triple the num­ber of words in their vo­cab­u­lar­ies than boys.

‘Boys even­tu­ally catch up in their vo­cab­u­lary , but not in speed.’

Y M A L : e r u ct Pi

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