Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why women have greater shortness of breath than men when exercising

Date:
November 7, 2013
Source:
Wiley
Summary:
The reason women find it harder to breathe than men during exercise is due to greater electrical activation of their breathing muscles, shows a new study.

The reason women find it harder to breathe than men during exercise is due to greater electrical activation of their breathing muscles, shows a new study published in the journal Experimental Physiology.

It is well established that women experience greater shortness of breath during physical activity, from stair climbing to long-distance running, than men of a similar age. This is true in healthy young and older adults, as well as in patients with chronic heart and lung disease. This study is the first to explain why this happens.

Dr Dennis Jensen, who led the study at McGill University, Canada, says:

"Our study uniquely showed that sex differences in activity-related breathlessness could be explained by the awareness of greater electrical activation of the respiratory muscles -- specifically the diaphragm -- needed to achieve any given ventilation during exercise in healthy young women compared to men. Our findings indicated that greater electrical activation of the respiratory muscles during exercise in women is needed to compensate for their biologically smaller lungs, airways and breathing muscles."

This information could be used by researchers and healthcare providers to help identify new treatments to relieve the symptoms of breathlessness and improve exercise capacity for groups such as the elderly and patients with chronic heart and lung disease.

Dr Jensen explains how the research was carried out:

"50 healthy, non-smoking men and women aged 20-40 years completed a maximum exercise test on a stationary bicycle. During exercise, we monitored the participants cardiovascular, metabolic and ventilatory responses to exercise using computerized equipment. At regular intervals during exercise, participants rated the intensity of their breathlessness using a 10-point scale. Using a multipair electrode catheter placed in the participants' esophagus, we also recorded the electromyogram of the diaphragm (an index of the drive to breathe that presumably originates in the central nervous system) throughout exercise. These measurements were then analysed and compared between men and women."

Future research is needed to extend the findings to other groups of men and women, such as those that are overweight or obese.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Schaeffer M, Mendonca C, Levangie M, Anderson R, Taivassalo T and Jensen D. Physiological mechanisms of sex differences in exertional dyspnea: Role of neural respiratory motor drive. Experimental Physiology, November 2013

Cite This Page:

Wiley. "Why women have greater shortness of breath than men when exercising." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131107191829.htm>.
Wiley. (2013, November 7). Why women have greater shortness of breath than men when exercising. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131107191829.htm
Wiley. "Why women have greater shortness of breath than men when exercising." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131107191829.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 18, 2014) Researchers at The National University of Singapore have invented a new microneedle patch that could offer a faster and less painful delivery of drugs such as insulin and painkillers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) The first nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola at a Dallas hospital walked down the stairs of an executive jet into an ambulance at an airport in Frederick, Maryland, on Thursday. Pham will be treated at the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) A Caribbean cruise ship carrying a Dallas health care worker who is being monitored for signs of the Ebola virus is heading back to Texas, US, after being refused permission to dock in Cozumel, Mexico. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) All four suspected Ebola cases admitted to hospitals in Spain on Thursday have tested negative for the deadly virus in a first round of tests, the government said Friday. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins