Gender-specific aspects in primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease

G. Mercuro, M. Deidda, A. Bina, E. Manconi, G. M C Rosano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gender differences in biological substrates of disease determine different clinical manifestations of CV disease with importantimplications for prevention, diagnosis and therapy in the two sexes.In women, the activity of sex hormones reduces the influence of CV risk factors during the reproductive age, and delays the onset ofCHD of 2 decades compared to men. However, women as men suffer from CV events, and in women mortality from all CV causes andhave a greater than the sum of the others 7 causes of death together. Women are more likely than men to die of a first myocardial infarctiona probability of developing heart failure or a second infarction than their male counterparts. The levels of lipid components vary in different ages of life and in the two genders. TC and LDL increase in men between 35 and 50years of age. On the contrary LDL levels do not change significantly in fertile women in which they have a lower predictive value forCHD than in men, HDL levels are higher in premenopausal women than in men of the same all age and their role in predicting CHD isconsiderably higher in women. High triglycerides and Lp(a) are more important as a risk factor in women than in men.Because of the greater incidence of cardiovascular diseases in men until the early 80s, information about the importance of risk factorsassociated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events has been gathered mainly in men and transferred to women. Most studies onlipid-lowering therapy did not have the adequate statistical power to show significant reductions in CV events in women. Regarding theindications for use of statins in daily practice, current data suggest that in secondary prevention statins are equally effective in both genderswhile in primary prevention the CV benefits from lipid-lowering therapy in women are less clear than in men and therefore shouldbe used according to the degree of risk calculated from the available score systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1082-1089
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Pharmaceutical Design
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Dyslipidemia
  • Gender
  • Primary and secondary prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology


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