It has long been recognized that there are significant differences between the sexes affecting prevalence, incidence, and severity over a broad range of diseases. Until the early 1990s, the limited research conducted on women's health focused primarily on diseases affecting fertility and reproduction, and women were excluded from most clinical trials. For these reasons, the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of serious chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease in women continue to be based primarily on findings in men, and sex-specific clinical guidelines are mostly lacking. Hypertension, obesity, and diabetes, interrelated risk factors for cardiovascular disease, differ by sex in terms of prevalence and adverse effects as well as by genetics and biology. Research is needed to understand sex differences in hypertension, obesity, and diabetes to optimally inform sex-specific prevention, diagnosis, and treatment strategies for women and men. In this way, sex-specific clinical guidelines can be developed where warranted.
Keywords: cardiovascular risk factors; sex differences.
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