Women's blood vessels age faster than men's, research suggests

Henrietta Strickland
January 17, 2020

"Results from studies performed in men may not be directly extrapolated to women".

Speaking on this, Dr Susan Cheng, senior author and director of public health research at the Smidt Heart Institute of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles commented, "I would encourage all to catch it as it starts to creep up, but keeping an eye on blood pressure is especially important for women".

The researchers said that this early change in blood pressure sets the stage for different types of cardiovascular disease later in life. The data included 145,000 blood pressure measurements, collected over a 43-year period from 32,833 participants ranging in age from 5 to 98 years old. A team of researchers conducted a study that explores the possibility for a range of blood pressure to be maintained for a relatively hassle-free life.

Cheng gave the example of a hypothetical 45-year-old woman and a 45-year-old man, who both show up at the doctor's office on the same day with a systolic blood pressure (the top number) of 140 mmHg. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.

The ways by which we think about and aim to prevent or treat high blood pressure likely needs to be more tailored, at least by sex. "Small vessel disease is much more subtle and it's harder to recognize", Cheng said. "But there's still have more work to do to understand exactly what the implications of this research are for outcomes and treatment". It was revealed that by the time they are in their 20s, women exhibit faster rates of rise in blood pressure when compared to their male counterparts.

Christine Albert, MD, MPH, founding chair of the newly established Department of Cardiology at the Smidt Heart Institute, says this new research should help guide clinicians and researchers to think differently when it comes to treating and studying women and their cardiovascular health.

One of the reasons Goldberg, who was not involved in the study, cited for patients not taking their blood pressure medications is that people stop taking them if their blood pressure improves. Issues such as this make maintaining one's blood pressure even more crucial. That can lead to certain forms of cardiovascular disease that are more common in women, such as a condition called heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. That's when the heart can't fill properly with blood.

Young men face a greater risk of heart disease than women, according to Harvard Medical School.

Anyone with a blood pressure measurement over 130/80 mm Hg is considered to have hypertension.

Another recent research compared the effects of junk food and typical Mediterranean meal on the vascular endothelium: the inner lining of the blood vessels to determine how easily the arteries will dilate after a temporary, five-minute occlusion, following the consumption of the two types of meals.

Yet, statistics also suggest more women die of heart disease every year than men.

Cheng said this study wasn't created to figure out the cause of the accelerating blood vessel aging in women.

First, cardiologists urge people to quit smoking.

After adjusting for factors that raise the risk of heart disease, like smoking and inactivity, the finding remained statistically significant.

Third, watch what you're eating.

The study was published online January 15 in JAMA Cardiology.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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