Predictive risk factors by gender will help diagnose and treat CVD in women

If gender differences in cardiovascular disease risk factors and effective treatment methods are to be better understood, more women need to be included in targeted clinical trials and health care professionals must better understand the role age plays in women's risk of heart disease, according to the results of an ESC Policy Conference on CVD in Women.

Fifty-five percent of European women die from CVD each year, yet many members of the medical community are unaware that the risk factors for women are different than for men or that treatment should vary according to gender.

"The risk of heart disease in women is underestimated because of the perception that women are 'protected' against ischemic heart disease. What is not fully understood is that women during the fertile age have a lower risk of cardiac events, but this protection fades after menopause thus leaving women with untreated risk factors vulnerable to develop myocardial infarction, heart failure and sudden cardiac death, said Marco Stramba-Badiale, chairperson of the Policy Conference and a member of the ESC's Woman at Heart committee.

The Policy Conference results were discussed at the European Society of Cardiology/European Heart Network March 7 conference about women's heart health, held in Brussels. A full report will be published the same day on the European Heart Journal website, http://eurheartj.oxfordjournals.org/papbyrecent.dtl. (1)

The Policy Conference concludes that predictive value by gender should be encouraged and the higher mortality rate in women with acute coronary syndromes should be taken into account in clinical management. Additionally, because age plays such a significant role in women's CVD, it should be given more consideration during diagnosis and treatment planning. Physicians should be urged to remember that a woman at low absolute may carry a high relative risk because of the ag

Contact: Lisa Abdolian
European Society of Cardiology

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