April 1, 2016

Saralyn Mark, MD Feedback from TappMD Expert
Saralyn Mark, MD
The female advantage.
Although this article focuses on sex hormones which change throughout the lifespan, it may also be useful to study other hormones such as the stress hormones which can impact how we use calories and even glucose and insulin.

Women tend to develop cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease, approximately ten years after the average man, a phenomenon called the female advantage. A new study suggests that younger women, who have not yet experienced menopause, can handle insulin resistance better than men, leading to new questions about how estrogen impacts insulin resistance.

Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine studied 468 women and 354 men to identify cardiovascular disease risk factors, including high blood pressure, fats levels, triglycerides, and fasting blood sugar. The men and women tested all had some degree of insulin resistance, a condition in which the body does not process insulin properly, which puts the carrier at higher risk for both cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The researchers realized that when considering the whole group, there were no remarkable differences between the men and the women, but that when they divided the group by both gender and age, interesting patterns emerged. Younger women (those under 51), had lower blood pressure, lower triglyceride levels, and lower fasting blood sugar rates when compared to men in the same age group, even when they had the same level of insulin resistance. Even though women experienced insulin resistance, their bodies were better able to handle it and thus suffered fewer consequences…

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Saralyn Mark, MD

Saralyn Mark, MD, an endocrinologist, geriatrician and women's health specialist, was the first Senior Medical Advisor to the Office on Women's Health within the Department of Health and Human Services for 11 years and to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). As Senior Medical Advisor, Dr. Mark was responsible for the development and analysis of initiatives and programs on emerging technologies, public health preparedness, physician workforce issues, sex and gender-based medicine and women's health on Earth and in Space.