This brief review summarizes the current knowledge on sex differences in baroreflex function, with a major focus on studies in humans. It has been demonstrated that healthy women have blunted cardiovagal baroreflx sensitivity during a rapid (i.e., within seconds) hypertensive stimulus, but baroreflex sensitivity is similar between the sexes during a hypotensive stimulus. Normal aging decreases cardiovagal baroreflex sensitivity and the rate of decline is similar in men and women. Cardiovagal baroreflex sensitivity is reduced in pathological conditions such as hypertension and type II diabetes, and the reduction is greater in female patients than male patients. There is no clear sex difference in sympathetic baroreflex sensitivity among young individuals, however, with women of more advanced age, sympathetic baroreflex sensitivity decreases, which appears to be associated with greater arterial stiffness compared with similarly aged men. The blunted sympathetic baroreflex sensitivity in older women may predispose them to an increased prevalence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
- Blood pressure
- Cardiovagal baroreflex sensitivity
- Sympathetic baroreflex sensitivity
ASJC Scopus subject areas