Cardiovascular diseases manifest themselves differently in women!

Cardiovascular disease continues to be the leading cause of death worldwide. Although they occur in both men and women, heart disease can develop and present in very different ways between the sexes.

Due to the different gender manifestation, cardiovascular disease (CVD) in women remains underdiagnosed and undertreated. Understanding gender differences in the manifestation of BCV can thus save the lives of many women around the world – let’s find out more about them.

Cardiovascular diseases – the main differences between women and men

Cardiovascular disease occurs later in women

Studies show that women experience heart disease on average up to 7-10 years later than men. However, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death for women over 65.

This delay in the onset of heart disease has led to the propagation of the myth that cardiovascular disease is predominantly a male disease. Because of this myth, young women may ignore dangerous symptoms and end up treating themselves far too late.

Risk factors may be different in women

Although the risk factors for cardiovascular disease are essentially the same in women and men, they may have a lesser or greater influence depending on the sex of the patient.

Smoking

For example, smoking has increased effects in women – so women who smoke will have an increased risk of heart attack compared to men who smoke as much.

Diabetes

Women with type 2 diabetes have up to 50% higher risk of fatal cardiovascular disease compared to men with diabetes.

The reason for this higher mortality has many causes. It is mainly related to a greater influence of risk factors, smaller coronary artery vessel size and often less aggressive treatment of diabetes in women.

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Blood pressure

Reduced levels of estrogen in the body after menopause can lead to an accelerated rise in blood pressure in older women.

High blood pressure often starts at menopause and can cause a variety of symptoms such as chest pain, palpitations, headaches or chills. These symptoms are often attributed to menopause – however, studies have shown that they are reduced when high blood pressure is properly treated.

Cholesterol

Before menopause, women have, on average, a lower risk of hypercholesterolaemia than men. This changes, however, after menopause, when total cholesterol levels in women’s bodies can rise by up to 10-14% more.

Women do not get the same treatment as men

In a European Heart Survey report on stable angina pectoris, it was found that women are less likely to be referred for functional testing for ischaemia. Women also have a lower rate of interventional procedures than men.

Under-recognition of heart disease and differences in clinical presentation in women lead to less aggressive treatment strategies and less representation of women in clinical trials. Thus. Identification of cardiovascular risk factors in women requires increased attention for better diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease in women.

The role of hormones in cardiovascular disease in women

The difference in symptoms and influence of cardiovascular risk factors in women could be attributed to female hormones (estrogen).

For example, numerous studies show that premenopausal women have a low risk of cardiovascular disease. Instead, menopause is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

It’s not just menopause that can cause these effects. Hormonal dysfunction in premenopausal women is also associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Not only that, but young women with an estrogen deficiency have up to a 7-fold increased risk of coronary artery disease.

As a woman, it is very important to closely monitor the development of risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar, so that you can get a proper diagnosis and treatment before it is too late.

The Dahna health app is your ally in preventing cardiovascular disease. With Dahna, you can check your risk of cardiovascular disease based on your cardiometabolic profile. You can also take the first step towards a healthy heart with our affordable menus based on the principles of the Mediterranean diet and comprehensive medical expertise. Start your journey to a healthy heart with Dahna!

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