Sex-specific differences in cardiovascular risk factors and blood pressure control in hypertensive patients

J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2014 Apr;16(4):309-12. doi: 10.1111/jch.12289. Epub 2014 Mar 13.


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cardiovascular risk factors are frequently undertreated in women. However, it is unclear whether the prevalence of additional cardiovascular risk factors and the total cardiovascular risk differ between hypertensive men and women. There are also limited data regarding rates of blood pressure control in the two sexes outside the United States. The authors aimed to compare the cardiovascular risk profile between sexes. A total of 1810 hypertensive patients (40.4% men, age 56.5±13.5 years) attending the hypertension outpatient clinic of our department were studied. Men were more frequently smokers than women and were more heavy smokers than the latter. Serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were lower and serum triglyceride levels were higher in men. On the other hand, abdominal obesity and chronic kidney disease were more prevalent in women. The estimated cardiovascular risk was higher in men than in women but the prevalence of established CVD did not differ between the sexes. The percentage of patients with controlled hypertension and the number of antihypertensive medications were similar in men and women. In conclusion, hypertensive men have more adverse cardiovascular risk factor profile and greater estimated cardiovascular risk than women. However, the prevalence of established CVD does not differ between sexes. These findings further reinforce current guidelines that recommend that management of hypertension and of other cardiovascular risk factors should be as aggressive in women as in men in order to prevent cardiovascular events.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antihypertensive Agents / pharmacology
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications*
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Abdominal / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Triglycerides