Effect of aging on gender differences in neural control of heart rate

Terry B J Kuo, Tsann Lin, Cheryl C H Yang, Chia Lin Li, Chieh Fu Chen, Pesus Chou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

To clarify the influence of gender on sympathetic and parasympathetic control of heart rate in middle-aged subjects and on the subsequent aging process, heart rate variability (HRV) was studied in normal populations of women (n = 598) and men (n = 472) ranging in age from 40 to 79 yr. These groups were divided into eight age strata at 5-yr intervals and were clinically diagnosed as having no hypertension, hypotension, diabetic neuropathy, or cardiac arrhythmia. Frequency-domain analysis of short-term, stationary R-R intervals was performed, which reveals very-low-frequency power (VLF; 0.003-0.04 Hz), low-frequency power (LF; 0.04-0.15 Hz), high- frequency power (HF; 0.15-0.40 Hz), the ratio of LF to HF (LF/HF), and LF and HF power in normalized units (LF% and HF%, respectively). The distribution of variance, VLF, LF, HF, and LF/HF exhibited acute skewness, which was adjusted by natural logarithmic transformation. Women had higher HF in the age strata from 40 to 49 yr, whereas men had higher LF% and LF/HF between 40 and 59 yr. No disparity in HRV measurements was found between the sexes in age strata ≥60 yr. Although absolute measurements of HRV (variance, VLF, LF, and HF) decreased linearly with age, no significant change in relative measurements (LF/HF, LF%, and HF%), especially in men, was detected until age 60 yr. We conclude that middle-aged women and men have a more dominant parasympathetic and sympathetic regulation of heart rate, respectively. The gender-related difference in parasympathetic regulation diminishes after age 50 yr, whereas a significant time delay for the disappearance of sympathetic dominance occurs in men.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Volume277
Issue number6 46-6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999
Externally publishedYes

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Heart Rate
Diabetic Neuropathies
Hypotension
Cardiac Arrhythmias
Hypertension
Population

Keywords

  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Frequency domain analysis
  • Gender difference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

Cite this

Effect of aging on gender differences in neural control of heart rate. / Kuo, Terry B J; Lin, Tsann; Yang, Cheryl C H; Li, Chia Lin; Chen, Chieh Fu; Chou, Pesus.

In: American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology, Vol. 277, No. 6 46-6, 12.1999.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kuo, Terry B J ; Lin, Tsann ; Yang, Cheryl C H ; Li, Chia Lin ; Chen, Chieh Fu ; Chou, Pesus. / Effect of aging on gender differences in neural control of heart rate. In: American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology. 1999 ; Vol. 277, No. 6 46-6.
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