• Perla Murillo

Gender Disparities in Cardiovascular Disease

Influence of Gender in Health Inequalities

Gender plays a major role in determining diseases and illnesses. Over the past decade, efforts were made to acknowledge gender health disparities. The lack of gender competence resulted in inadequate care. A broad list of theories were made as to why and how society influences gender inequalities. One of the potential influences is the social expectations of how women and men should act based on the concepts of femininity and masculinity. This social construct led to consequences for the health and well-being of many.


A Neglected Risk Group

When dealing with cardiovascular disease (CVD), it is common for a woman to receive deficient care. This is because this disease is seen as a “men’s disease.” CVD is a cluster of diseases that involves blood vessels of the heart. Examples include coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and high blood pressure. Men have a higher absolute risk than women; however, women reported to have a higher relative risk of CVD mortality and morbidity.

CVD is shown differently in men and women. This results in different diagnosis and treatments can lead to differences in outcomes. Late arrivals to the emergency room, are caused by the misconception that women have about symptoms and risks of CVD. The majority of the basic signs and symptoms are based on medical research that was mainly performed in men. This lack of awareness of women’s heart disease results in missing heart attacks or delay with their diagnosis. Studies show that women were less likely to be prescribed with statins, aspirin, and certain medication for blood pressure compared to men.


Ensuring the Best Cardiovascular Care

Blood pressure medication, aspirin, and statins can be taken to prevent or slow down the disease from worsening; However, you must first ask your doctor about the risks and benefits that cardiovascular medication would have on you. It is important to stay up to date on new CVD check-ups. Most importantly, it is recommended (especially women) to be aware of the signs and symptoms of CVD.


Sources

Möller-Leimkühler, A. (2007). Gender differences in cardiovascular disease and comorbid depression. Retrieved February 25, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181845/

Mosca, L., Barrett-Connor, E., & Wenger, N. (2011, November 8). Sex/gender differences in cardiovascular disease Prevention: What a difference a decade makes. Retrieved February 25, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3362050/

Hanna Gaggin, M. (2020, October 15). Gender differences in cardiovascular disease: Women are less likely to be prescribed certain heart medications. Retrieved February 25, 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/gender-differences-in-cardiovascular-disease-women-are-less-likely-to-be-prescribed-certain-heart-medications-2020071620553

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