Women Tend To Manage Their Cardiac Risk Factors Less Well Than Men

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Min Zhao PhD student

Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, Clinical Epidemiology
University Medical Center Utrech

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Heart disease is still one of leading causes of deaths and disability worldwide. Management of modifiable risk factors, including both medical treatment target and healthy lifestyle, reduce the chance of new heart attack among those who survived a previous heart attack (so-called secondary prevention). Previous studies have demonstrated that the secondary prevention of heart disease is poorer among women than men. However, most studies were performed in Western populations.

We aimed to assess whether sex differences exist on risk factor management and to investigate geographic variations of any such sex differences. Our study is a large-scale international clinical audit performed during routine clinic visit. We recruited over 10,000 patients who had survived a previous heart attack from 11 countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We observed substantial sex disparities in management of cardiovascular risk factors. In general, women tended to be worse on cardiovascular risk factor management than men. However, women had better blood pressure control than men. We also found that the magnitude and direction of sex differences on medical treatment and healthy lifestyle achievement varied across regions. In Asia and the Middle East, sex disparities in reaching medical treatment targets tended to greater than in Europe. However, there is similar smoking rate between men and women in Europe. Women in Asia and the Middle East were considerably less likely to smoke than men.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Substantial sex differences between men and women in risk factor management for the secondary prevention of heart disease exist, most often to the detriment for women. These findings highlight the importance of improving risk factor management for heart disease, especially among women.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Further studies would help to understand why these sex differences exist. A better understanding of such differences and tailored secondary prevention strategies, especially for women, could improve guideline implementation on secondary prevention of heart disease for both men and women. We also encourage more widespread use of women-specific clinical guidelines appropriate to local settings. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: There is a need for greater awareness for sex disparities in the secondary prevention of heart disease. Also, risk factor management for secondary prevention of heart disease should be implemented more systematically, so to reduce the future burden of heart disease as efficiently and effectively as possible.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


Sex differences in risk factor management of coronary heart disease across three regions

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.


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Last Updated on October 2, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD