As clinicians, we have always known that heart disease presents and behaves differently in women compared to men. But the current tools and tests for assessing and measuring risk factors do not distinguish between the sexes, and have thus far been regarded as general guide only.
A new study from the Memorial Care Heart and Vascular Institute in Fountain Valley, California has for the first time identified and quantified some measurable differences in the biomarkers that may put women at greater risk than men for cardiovascular disease.
The study findings confirm that atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease and that being overweight is truly a risk factor. The authors compare overweight to property – the important factor is location, location, location. i.e. belly fat is the dangerous type. This fat is metabolically very active and the inflammation and associated adverse effects it induces can be measured by certain biomarkers.
Lifestyle changes such as weight loss can reverse this situation, and they remain a simple yet powerful means of preventing cardiovascular disease in both men and women.