Women and men mistakenly given different advice to prevent heart disease

In a study from Harvard Medical School, scientists found women are told to improve their lifestyle to prevent heart disease while men are advised to take statins.

They found that women are advised to lose weight, exercise and improve their diet to avoid cardiovascular disease but men are prescribed lipid-lowering drug.

This is despite the fact that guideline recommendations to prevent heart disease are the same for men and women.

Previous studies have found that women with cardiovascular disease are given less aggressive treatment compared with men. This study examined whether these sex differences extend to the prevention of heart disease.

In the study, the team used data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2017 to 2020.

Among 8,512 men and women aged 40 to 79 years and no history of heart disease, 2,924 participants were at increased risk for developing heart disease according to a validated risk calculator and therefore eligible to receive statins.

The team found that men were 20% more likely to be prescribed statins compared with women.

Compared with men, women were 27% more likely to be advised to lose weight, and 38% more likely to receive recommendations to exercise.

Regarding diet, women were 27% more often than men advised to reduce their salt intake, and 11% more frequently told to reduce their fat or calorie intake.

This demonstrated that a potential root of the discrepancy in advice is the misconception that women have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than men.

The findings highlight the need for greater awareness among health professionals to ensure that both women and men receive the most up-to-date information on how to maintain heart health.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about the best blood sugar levels to prevent strokes and heart attacks, and Vitamin K may lower your heart disease risk by a third.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about why obesity increases heart damage in COVID-19, and results showing she thought she had bronchitis, but the problem was her heart.

The study was conducted by Dr. Prima Wulandari et al and presented at ESC Asia.

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