GOTHENBURG: New research has found that women appear to have a lower risk of developing and dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD) than men.
Carried out by scientists at the University of Gothenburg, the new study looked at 168,490 men and women in 27 countries including Argentina, Bangladesh, Canada, United Arab Emirates, China, Sweden and Zimbabwe.
The researchers collected data from the participants that included their sociodemographic characteristics, CVD risk factors, medication use and any lifestyle interventions they had tried. The women had an average age of 50.8 at the start of the study and the men 51.7, and all were followed for a median of 9.5 years.
The findings, published in The Lancet, showed that the women had fewer risk factors for CVD, including lower blood pressure levels and healthier blood fat levels. Women were also more likely to take preventive medication and fewer women smoked.
In addition, the results showed that the rates of CVD and deaths from CVD were also lower among women than men.
The team also found that treatments such as coronary revascularisation, which is the widening of blocked or narrowed coronary arteries, were carried out less frequently on women.
However, despite this, women still had a lower risk of having another CVD event than men and were less likely to die within 30 days of an event.
The researchers did find a difference between countries, however.
After experiencing a heart attack or stroke, around 40% of both men and women die within 30 days in low-income countries like Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, compared to less than 10% in high-income countries like Sweden and Canada.
The researchers commented on the findings saying that many people have expressed concern that women with CVD are given less intensive treatment than men.
However, the researchers say that women simply don’t seem to need the same type of treatment.
“Our interpretation is that there doesn’t seem to be discrimination against women. Rather, women have less marked changes in the coronary arteries, which means they don’t need such intensive treatment,” says co-author Professor Annika Rosengren.