Gender bias in cardiovascular disease prevention, detection, and management, with specific reference to coronary artery disease
Shailesh Desai1, Atul Munshi2, Devangi Munshi3
1 Consulting Preventive Cardiologist, Above Star Bazaar, Satellite Road, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
2 Consulting Obstetrician and Gynecologist; Ex- Prof. & HOD, OBGYN, GCS & NHL Medical College, Ahmedabad, Munshi Group of Hospitals 50, Pritamnagar Society, Ellisbridge, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
3 Department of OBGYN, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation MET Medical College, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
Consulting Obstetrician and Gynecologist; Ex- Prof. & HOD, OBGYN, GCS & NHL Medical College, Ahmedabad Munshi Group of Hospitals 50, Pritamnagar Society, Ellisbridge, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Even though cardiovascular disease (CVD) kills more women than men each year and remains a leading cause of death in women, it is a common misconception that women are less likely to develop CVD. Considerable sex difference exists between men and women with regard to prevention, investigations, and management of CVD. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a major contributor to CVD morbidity and mortality and hence is specifically addressed in this article. With an explosive increase in the incidence of conventional risk factors for coronary artery disease in India, there has been an alarming increase in women's coronary events as much as men. A false sense of gender-based protection by estrogen leads to less aggressive and late prevention or management strategies that contribute to women's CAD. Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is an important contributor to future development of CAD and is also an indicator for earlier interventions for prevention. Due to physical inactivity and central obesity, MetS is more prevalent in women, especially postmenopausal. With estrogen loss, menopause marks a critical cardiovascular biological transition, with a significantly increased CVD risk in women aged >55 years. Certain female-specific risk factors, such as history of polycystic ovarian syndrome, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and gestational diabetes, also seem to play an essential role in the development of CVD in later life. Certain vascular and biological factors, such as smaller coronary vessel size, higher prevalence of small vessel disease, and lesser development of collateral flow, also play an important role. This review article is an attempt to provide important information on gender differences in CVD with specific emphasis on CAD.