Heart Disease In Women
These new findings from investigators at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles may explain why women tend to develop different types of cardiovascular disease on a different timetable than men. The researchers found that both large and small arteries in women appear to age faster than the same blood vessels in men. Senior author Susan Cheng, M.D., M.P.H., noted that many doctors “have long believed that women simply ‘catch up’ to men in terms of their cardiovascular risk.” Instead, the new research confirms that women and men have different biology and physiology and illustrates why women may be more susceptible to developing certain types of cardiovascular disease at different points 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,” Dr. Cheng added. The new findings came from data on nearly 145,000 blood pressure measurements collected over 43 years from 32,833 study participants ranging in age from five to 98.
My take? These are concerning new findings and illustrate the importance of women taking precautions earlier in life to help lower their risk of heart disease. Beyond making sure your blood pressure (and cholesterol) are under control, it’s important to give up cigarettes if you smoke, stay close to your ideal weight for your age, remain physically active and be screened regularly for diabetes. I also recommend following an anti-inflammatory diet, including getting omega-3 fatty acids in the form of omega-3 rich foods or as supplements.
Susan Cheng et al, “Sex Differences in Blood Pressure Trajectories Over the Life Course,” JAMA Cardiology, January 15, 2020, doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2019.5306
More from this week’s bulletin:
- Encouraging News About Cancer Stats
- Should We Eat More Apples?
- A tasty side dish to try: Quinoa Fried Rice
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