Do Women and Men Respond Differently To Heat?
Human body has a remarkable capacity to respond to minor environmental changes; such as when external temperature is 100-degree Fahrenheit, your body uses heat dissipating mechanisms to cool off. Likewise, when external environmental temperature is below freezing point, your body burns off fat to generate heat to prevent your body from freezing.
This is also true for internal bodily mechanisms that releases massive heat energy such as after a strenuous workout. In all such cases, external stimulus activates hypothalamus to activate a series of physiological processes to regulate internal temperature within strict limits.
Do men and women respond differently to heat?
For long, it was believed that heat dissipating mechanisms and body temperature regulation processes are different in males and females. A lot of scientists believed that these processes are influenced by the hormones; but latest research indicates that this hypothesis is not entirely true.
The new study that was conducted by smart team of scientists at Mie Prefectural College of Nursing (Japan) and University of Wollongong (Australia) suggested that the heat regulation mechanisms are mainly influenced by body mass index (such as surface area and body fat); and not gender alone. The team of scientists suggested that large surface area of individuals provides a bigger surface for sweating – which helps in releasing internal heat.
Essentials of the Study:
As part of the study, scientists studied 60 otherwise healthy volunteers – comprising of 36 men and 24 women with varying body mass indices (i.e. weight and surface area). The goal of this study was to analyze the sudomotor responses and vasomotor functions in different individuals in controlled environment. The study subjects were instructed to engage in activities like cycling at 36% humidity and at a temperature of 84.2 degrees Fahrenheit for a period of 45 minutes, followed by another round of cycling in similar situations after a break of 20 minutes.
The research team observed following:
- At the time of activity, the circulation of blood increases to the skin as part of the process of delivering fresh oxygenated blood to the exercising muscles (and also to remove toxins). This mechanism releases heat in the form of sweating
- Up to 48% of the bodily response to heat depends on the mass and surface area – regardless of the gender
- Individuals with large surface area dissipates heat by increased circulation; whereas individuals with high body mass index (or fat) rely on sweating to release heat
It is noteworthy that last than 5% of the results or findings can be attributed to the gender related factors.