- Cardiovascular disease (CVD) claims the lives of 1 in 3 females around the world.
- The incidence of CVD is lower in females than males, but females have a worse outlook and higher mortality rates.
- Females are often underrepresented in clinical trials of CVD treatments.
- The journal Circulation published its fourth “Go Red for Women” issue in 2020, covering a broad array of topics specifically devoted to CVD in women.
There is a widespread misperception that strokes and heart attacks are predominantly male health problems, but in reality, CVD is the leading cause of death among females worldwide, claiming the lives of 1 in 3, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
According to the
Research suggests that although the incidence of CVD in females is lower than in males, females tend to have a worse outlook and higher mortality rates after acute cardiovascular events. The authors note that these include coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, and aortic diseases.
In 2004, the AHA launched its Go Red for Women campaign to increase awareness of the sex differences in CVD, close any gaps in the standard of care between males and females, and educate the public about prevention.
In 2020, the AHA published a special issue devoted to the subject in their journal
This was the journal’s fourth annual Go Red for Women issue.
“Even one life lost is too many because we know much of heart disease and stroke is preventable and treatable,” says one of the editorial’s authors, Circulation Editor-in-Chief Dr. Joseph A. Hill, Ph.D.
Dr. Hill is chief of cardiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center and director of the Harry S. Moss Heart Center, both in Dallas, TX.
“Support for ongoing research, as well as female participation in pivotal clinical trials, are imperative to effectively address sex disparities in heart disease and stroke care as part of our effort to improve cardiovascular health for women,” he says.
“These are critical in our fight against heart disease and stroke in women.”
On the theme of participation in clinical trials,
This is an important deficiency because several studies in the special issue highlight the potential benefits of breaking down clinical data by sex rather than taking a “one-size-fits-all” approach to treatment.
Among these factors is body mass. A
The researchers report that even mildly elevated body weight was associated with increased risk in young females.
The researchers found that among individuals who were resuscitated following a cardiac arrest in the community, 22.5% of females survived until discharge from hospital compared with 36.3% of males.
Females had a significantly lower discharge survival than males, especially among people whom doctors judged to have a better outlook after admission to the hospital.
However, in a statement earlier this month explaining the rationale for creating the journal’s annual Go Red for Women issue, Dr. Hill strikes an optimistic note:
“By publishing some of the best science on cardiovascular disease in women, our hope is that this issue of Circulation will catalyze the conduct of transformative and disruptive research in this area, enabling us to further our understanding of sex differences in CVD presentation and outcomes and effectively address sex disparities in cardiovascular care.”