Women and risk of CVD – role of diet and lifestyle

‘Not just a man’s disease’

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in women worldwide. Despite this, it is often perceived to be a man’s disease. Although the biology of the disease is the same, some sex-specific risk factors and conditions alter the course of the disease. Women experience a number of hormonal changes throughout their lives that impact lipoprotein metabolism and therefore risk of CHD. In addition, the increasing prevalence of diabetes and obesity leads to women getting dyslipidaemia earlier in life, especially in middle income countries. A misperception that a heart attack is a man’s disease, and unconscious biases in the delivery of healthcare, may lead to delayed treatment and poorer survival chances for women who suffer a heart attack. Understanding and addressing any sex-specific differences in the area of dyslipidaemia and CHD is an important opportunity to improve healthcare.