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Category: CVD Prevention

Special Feature – February Women’s Health Month

The Reality of Women and Cardiometabolic Disease

Perception has typically been that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a disease that primarily impacts men, but CVD has been the leading cause of death in women. In 2013, according to US statistics, CVD accounted for more than 398,000 female deaths.1 Every 90 seconds in the United States, a woman suffers a myocardial infarction.2

Men tend to develop CVD earlier than women, but women develop CVD more rapidly after menopause due to hormonal changes, leading to the development of hypertension, changes in lipid concentrations, and central adiposity. Diabetes is also a more significant risk factor for CVD in women than men.3 Other factors that increase the odds of developing CVD include excessive alcohol use, family history of CVD, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, obesity, physical inactivity, and smoking. Hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and smoking in particular are key risk factors for the development of CVD and about half of American women (49%) have at least one of these three risk factors.2

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The Harms from Cigarette Smoking

A large study from the BMJ indicates that smokers must quit cigarettes, rather than simply cut back on them, to significantly lower their risk of heart disease and stroke.

Statistics demonstrated that those who smoked even one cigarette each day were still about 50% more likely to develop CVD, and 30% more likely to have a stroke, than people who had never smoked.

Cardiovascular disease, not cancer, is the greatest mortality risk for smoking, causing about 48% of smoking-related premature deaths. While the percentage of adults in the UK who smoked had been falling, the proportion of people who smoked one to five cigarettes a day had been rising steadily, researchers said.

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