Heart failure in women
- Cite this article as:
- Barnard, D.D. Curr Cardiol Rep (2005) 7: 159. doi:10.1007/s11886-005-0071-x
Increasingly high mortality from cardiovascular disease in women has sparked nationwide campaigns to raise awareness of this significant threat to women’s health. Heart failure has the most lethal prognosis of the major cardiovascular diseases, yet women demonstrate an apparent survival advantage compared with men. Sex-linked disparities in heart failure risk factors and pathophysiology contribute to this divergent clinical outcome. Heart failure etiology and clinical manifestations unique to female sex exist. At age 40, the lifetime risk of developing heart failure is equal for men and women, whereas the lifetime risk of developing coronary heart disease is one in two for men and one in three for women. Understanding sex-inherent characteristics related to heart failure may help determine whether the optimal therapy for this prevalent syndrome should be modified according to sex. Until prospective trial data prove otherwise, heart failure treatment guidelines should be uniformly applied to both women and men.