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A recent study in the Lancet unveiled a frightening statistic. We already know that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among women, but what’s new is that it was responsible for 35% of the total deaths in women in 2019.
Cardiovascular disease in women remains understudied, under-recognized, underdiagnosed, and undertreated. A group of researchers from Mt. Sinai Medical Center wanted to look for ways to decrease the global burden brought upon by heart disease among women, by the year 2030. The results led to urgent action to improve care and prevention, fill knowledge gaps, and increase awareness to tackle heart disease among women.
Let’s take a look at the study, what researchers found, and its significance.
Researchers say that in 2019, there were approximately 275 million women around the world with cardiovascular disease. The leading cause of death from CVD worldwide in 2019 was ischemic heart disease (47% of CVD deaths), followed by stroke (36% of CVD deaths).
The study addresses the fact that there's really no current established global policy to coordinate the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease in women. Sometimes it presents differently in men than women.
It also highlights the fact that there are gender-specific risk factors that are unique to women, for example, premature menopause or having diabetes during gestation, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, preterm delivery, polycystic ovary disease. These are unique to women and their risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
It also found that women with hypertension risk a cardiovascular event if they go on hormone replacement therapy, that’s 12 times higher than women who don’t.
It also addresses other risk factors like socioeconomic deprivation, poor health literacy, and environmental risk factors as well. In the end, the results of the study say that there will be more women dying of cardiovascular disease than cancer.
The authors outlined 10 recommendations for better diagnosis, treatment and prevention to reduce CVD in women. These include:
Researchers also say it’s important to reach groups not typically viewed as being at high risk, such as young women — a group in which heart attacks and smoking rates are increasing.
If you’re a woman and worried about your heart health, talk to your doctor. You can also take a look at our guide “Know Your Numbers: Blood Pressure.” Inside you’ll learn about lifestyle changes that can start bringing your blood pressure down, and 7 questions to ask your doctor about your blood pressure.