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Cardiovascular responses to orthostatic and other stressors in men and women are independent of sex

, : Cardiovascular responses to orthostatic and other stressors in men and women are independent of sex. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology & Physiology 31(1-2): 50-56

1. Cardiovascular responses to the stress of orthostasis, forearm (FA) ischaemia (reactive hyperaemia) and FA exercise (postexercise hyperaemia) are well described. Although sex differences in responses to orthostatic stress have been reported, few studies have examined the impact of sex on reactive hyperaemia and none has commented with regard to postexercise hyperaemia. 2. We investigated 11 men (mean (+/-SEM) age 18.5 +/- 0.3 years) and 10 women (18.8 +/- 0.8 years), all of whom were sedentary, with women being studied in the mid-follicular phase of their menstrual cycle. We measured blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR) and forearm blood flow (FBF) in response to a fixed sequence of orthostatic, ischaemic and exercise stressors. 3. Orthostatic stress (10 min at -50 mmHg lower body negative pressure; LBNP) induced presyncopal signs in one man and three women. In all other subjects, BP was well maintained, with FBF decreasing and HR increasing similarly in both sexes. The tachycardia was earlier in onset in men and reached significantly higher absolute levels in women during the final 5 min of LBNP, but the percentage changes and integrated responses of both HR and FBF were not different between sexes. 4. The increases in FBF following either 10 min FA ischaemia or 10 min FA exercise were similar in men and women in terms of peak blood flow, percentage change, rate of recovery and total blood flow response. 5. In conclusion, although women were less tolerant of orthostatic stress than men, the cardiovascular responses to this and the other stressors appeared essentially independent of sex.


PMID: 14756684

DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.2004.03949.x

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