The Science Behind Aging: Men vs. Women

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Conversations about age tend to go in one of two directions: a gripe about its pitfalls or a fanciful chat that taps into the human longing for immortality. But aging is as fundamental as time itself and according to experts at Cedars-Sinai, we would do well to concern ourselves with doing it healthfully (griping optional).

In the interest of demystifying aging and encouraging longevity, we’re presenting a series of Q&As with Cedars-Sinai experts about the science of aging.

Q: Women live a few years longer than men, but do the sexes age differently?

Dr. Chrisandra Shufelt, Associate Director, Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute

What she knows
Estrogen influences the whole body. Estrogen plays a key role in almost all tissues and cells; therefore, aging in women is influenced by the decrease of estrogen in menopause. The most well-known effect is bone loss, but the hormonal shift also is linked to increased cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, high “bad” cholesterol, and low “good” cholesterol. Research on the impact of estrogen on the brain may reveal even more: Withdrawal of estrogen leads to foggy thinking, as in the postpartum period, and may affect women in menopause as well.

And another thing
“My latest research is studying how low estrogen levels affect the immune system and how this, in turn, is connected with heart disease. The data is preliminary, but we have found that lower estrogen levels are associated with higher levels of inflammation in the body, which can lead to disease states, including heart disease.”

Read more about the science behind aging:

Why Does Aging Impact Health?
Reverse Aging

This article is re-published from Discoveries magazine, which covers medical research at Cedars-Sinai and its impact on patient care.

Learn more: Find out more about how the Campaign for Cedars-Sinai is advancing health in aging and longevity here.

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