Gender-specific aspects in the clinical presentation of cardiovascular disease

Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2010 Dec;24(6):711-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-8206.2010.00873.x. Epub 2010 Sep 14.


More than a quarter of a million women die each year in the industrialized countries from cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and current projections indicate that this number will continue to rise with our ageing population. Important sex-related differences in the prevalence, presentation, management and outcomes of different CVD have discovered in the last two decades of cardiovascular research. Nevertheless, much evidence supporting contemporary recommendations for testing, prevention and treatment of CVD in women is still extrapolated from studies conducted predominantly in men. The compendium of CVD indicates that current research and strategy development must focus on gender-specific issues to address the societal burden and costs related to these incremental shifts in female gender involvement. Indeed, this significant burden of CVD in women places unique diagnostic, treatment and financial encumbrances on our society that are only further intensified by a lack of public awareness about the disease on the part of patients and clinicians alike. This societal burden of the disease is, in part, related to our poor understanding of gender-specific pathophysiologic differences in the presentation and prognosis of CVD and the paucity of diagnostic and treatment guidelines tailored to phenotypic differences in women. In this, scenario is of outmost importance to know these differences to provide the best care for female patients, because under-recognition of CVD in women may contribute to a worse clinical outcome. This review will provide a synopsis of available evidence on gender-based differences in the initial presentation, pathophysiology and clinical outcomes of women affected by CVD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors