Research Study Shows that Women with Heart Disease are Less Likely than Men to Reach Treatment Goals

Coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. This is a frustrating fact for the medical community because coronary heart disease is also largely preventable through diet, exercise, and managing cholesterol and blood pressure. The George Institute for Global Health has several ongoing and recently concluded studies regarding blood pressure and cholesterol and other factors that all contribute to coronary heart disease. This most recent study explores the disparity between men and women in regards to meeting treatment goals once diagnosed with coronary heart disease.

Sex Differences in Risk Factor Management of Coronary Heart Disease

In September of 2017, the study named “Sex Differences in Risk Factor Management of Coronary Heart Disease across three regions (Europe, Asia, and the Middle East): was published in the Heart Journal. Dr. Sanne Peters of The George Institute for Global Health UK at the University of Oxford was one of the study authors. The research showed that more study is needed to better understand why there is such a disparity in meeting treatment goals for women vs. men that have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease and given a treatment plan. This is especially the case in Asia and the Middle East, more so than in Europe.

The team analysed data from more than 10,000 patients (29% women) with CHD from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East between 2012 and 2013. Here are some of the stats and data uncovered:

  • On average, women were 4 years older than men.
  • Adherence to guideline-recommended treatment and lifestyle targets was recorded as a Cardiovascular Health Index Score (CHIS).
  • Overall, only 6% of women and 8% of men reached all treatment targets and about one-third of men and women met all lifestyle targets.
  • Risk factor management for the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease is generally worse in women.
  • A possible reason for the differences could be that women are underdiagnosed and therefore are not taking the preventative medications or other precautions.

After adjusting for several factors that could have influenced the results, they found that, compared with men, women were less likely to achieve targets for the following parameters

  • Total cholesterol (8% vs 14%),
  • LDL cholesterol (22% vs 33%),
  • Blood glucose (71% vs 76%),
  • Being physically active or non-obese.

The only areas where women did better than men were for better control of blood pressure (45% vs 38%) and were more likely to be a non-smoker than men.

Overall, women were less likely than men to achieve all treatment targets or obtain an adequate CHIS, but no significant differences were found for all lifestyle targets.

Study Conclusions

The research team concluded that further study is necessary to uncover exactly why this disparity between men and women with cardiovascular disease occurs. More studies are needed to optimise personalised medicine in the different regions and investigation into the gender differences. To help bridge the gap for the disparity in reaching treatment targets, the team suggests that there is a need for tailored strategies to reduce the inequalities and improve the uptake of guideline-recommended care for the prevention of coronary heart disease in both women and men.

About George Clinical

In 2007, The George Institute for Global Health launched George Clinical, a leading contract research organisation (CRO) in Asia. George Clinical is the first and largest commercial enterprise from the institute. George Clinical is headquartered in Sydney, Australia but has operational hubs in ten other countries. George Clinical delivers the full-range of clinical trial services across all trial phases and in a variety of therapeutic specializations. George Clinical has contributed directly to several landmark clinical trials, the results of which have changed clinical practice. In addition to testing medications, a large part of their clinical research studies are about food and how unhealthy food intake negatively affects overall health and how that impacts cardiovascular health, diabetes, and stroke in patients around the world.