Gender differences in acute care treatments for cardiovascular diseases
This narrative review aimed to identify gender-related differences in multiple cardiovascular disease treatments and to provide an overview of the possible causes to aid in establishment of a cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk profile.
A narrative review methodology was used. A systematic search of two databases, PubMed and CINAHL, sourced 245 articles.
Seven articles met the inclusion criteria. Three recurrent themes emerged from the literature. These were gender differences in the burden of CVD, gender differences in symptom presentation and gender differences in management and treatment of CVD.
CVD can be expressed differently in women and men. Different approaches to diagnosis and treatment are required. The studies included in this review reflect findings reported in research conducted more than 10 years ago, suggesting that more focus is needed to define and add gender-related indicators to current risk assessments and management strategies.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a term used for blood vessel and heart disorders (World Health Organization (WHO), 2021). Coronary artery disease is a type of CVD that is caused when low-density lipoproteins (bad fats), also known as bad cholesterol, are deposited inside blood vessels, which causes them to narrow, blocking blood flow reaching the heart or the brain (WHO, 2021). CVD is known globally as a major cause of death (Zhao et al, 2020). According to WHO, in 2019 approximately 17.9 million deaths occurred from cardiovascular diseases, reflecting 32% of all deaths globally. Of that 32%, 85% were caused by myocardial infarction (MI) and strokes alone (WHO, 2021). Disease burden and deaths can be significantly reduced by early identification and treatment alongside awareness of possible risk factors. Possible risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, obesity and a family history of cardiovascular disease. Commencing drugs such as statins, maintaining a balanced diet and quitting smoking have been proven to reduce the risk of developing CVD (Gordon and Hsueh, 2021).
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