Women less likely to receive preventive recommendations for Coronary Artery Disease

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Coronary artery disease continues to be neglected in women, despite it killing at least as many women as men.

Women are still less likely to receive preventive recommendations, such as lipid-lowering therapy, aspirin, and lifestyle advice, than are men at a similar risk level.

CAD is a leading cause of death of women and men worldwide. Yet CAD's impact on women traditionally has been under-appreciated due to higher rates at younger ages in men.

Women are disproportionately affected by microvascular coronary disease and they have unique risk factors for CAD, including those related to pregnancy and autoimmune disease. Overall, rates of CAD have declined by 30% in the last decade, but rates have actually increased in women younger than 55.

There also are risk factors that appear to affect men and women differently.

Awareness is greatly needed, for women and healthcare providers alike. In 1997, only 30% of American women surveyed were aware that the leading cause of death in women is CAD; this increased to 54% in 2009.

Survey performed in 2004, fewer than one in five physicians recognized that more women than men die each year from CAD. Increasing data demonstrate that some treatment strategies have sex-specific effectiveness. Further research regarding the pathophysiology of CAD in women, diagnosis, and treatment strategies specific to women is required. CAD is not a 'man's only' disease, future studies that examine its unique presence in women are happening.

Across the world, 17.3 million people died from cardiovascular diseases (such as CAD) in 2008 – and almost half (8.6 million) were women. It is estimated that numbers of cardiovascular disease deaths will rise to 23.3 million by 2030.

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