Women at higher risk of heart diseases at a younger age

According to new research, women’s blood vessels age at a faster rate than men’s, meaning it is at higher risk of heart disease while being young

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Woman reading a book. / Photo: Unsplash - Reference image

The Woman Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez Toro

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Leer en español: Mujeres tienen mayor riesgo de enfermedades cardíacas en la juventud

A study published on Wednesday this week that looks at how blood pressure measurements change in men and women as they age offers new information on how the two sexes experience heart disease in different ways.

As read on Breaking News, these findings challenge the notion that “important vascular diseases in women lag behind men by 10 to 20 years”. People tend to think that women and men are at the same type of risk but men develop the disease earlier, so this means that my midlife women will have the same extent of disease as men do. 

“Many of us in medicine have long believed that women simply ‘catch up’ to men in terms of their cardiovascular risk. Our research not only confirms that women have different biology and physiology than their male counterparts, but also illustrates why it is that women may be more susceptible to developing certain types of cardiovascular disease and at different points in life", said Dr. Susan Cheng, director of public health research at the Smidt Heart Institute at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles, and senior author on the study. 

According to the Daily Mail, high blood pressure, known as hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms. However, if untreated, it increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.

To get the findings of this study published in the journal JAMA Cardiology, researchers tracked nearly 33,000 people between the ages of 5 and 98 over more than four decades. According to the results, sharper increases in blood pressure measurements for women starting in their 20s were observed, and they continued to increase throughout their life span.

Also read: Do women know about breast density and cancer risk?

According to MedicalXpress, instead of comparing data from men and women to each other, researchers compared women to women and men to men and this allowed them to identify that the progression and evolution of women's vascular function are very different than for men.

Dr. Cheng said: “Our data showed that rates of accelerating blood pressure elevation were significantly higher in women than men, starting earlier in life.

“This means that if we define the hypertension threshold the exact same way, a 30-year old woman with high blood pressure is probably at higher risk for cardiovascular disease than a man with high blood pressure at the same age.”

"The ways by which we think about and aim to prevent or treat high blood pressure likely needs to be more tailored, at least by sex," Cheng said. "But there's still have more work to do to understand exactly what the implications of this research are for outcomes and treatment."

According to MedicalXpress, this study could help to explain why women tend to develop different types of cardiovascular disease and with different timing than men.

Dr. Cheng added: “This study is yet another reminder to physicians that many aspects of our cardiovascular evaluation and therapy need to be tailored specifically for women.”