Women’s blood vessels age faster than men’s.

A new study shows that blood vessels, including large and small arteries, in women, age much faster in women than in men. This is the first time this finding is reported. The study, published in the magazine. JAMA Cardiology In January 2020, it will be useful to show how women have a different risk of cardiovascular disease, both with respect to type and timing, than men.

The predominant wisdom seems to be that women and men run the same type of risk, and that the only difference is that men develop the disease before. In mid-life, women will have the same degree of disease as men. However, says researcher Susan Cheng, “Our research not only confirms that women have a different biology and physiology than their male counterparts, but also illustrates why women may be more susceptible to developing certain types of cardiovascular diseases and in different moments of life. ” “.

The blood vessels – illustration. Image credit: UGREEN 3S / Shutterstock

The study

The current study was based on the need to discover how serial blood pressure measurements vary between men and women over a long period of time, from the initial measurement.

The researchers analyzed data from different communities gathered from various sites across the country. This included blood pressure measurements for men and women that were analyzed separately, as it is an important indicator of the risk of cardiovascular disease. They had almost 145,000 readings over 43 years old, taken in series in the same set of almost 33,000 patients. The age of these participants varied from 5 to 98 years.

The measures they sought include age, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, mean blood pressure and pulse pressure.

The risk of heart attack, heart failure or stroke is usually based on the presence of high blood pressure. Based on this premise, the researchers analyzed these data looking for any pattern that indicated the onset of an increase in blood pressure and any underlying cause. They also compared groups of women with different characteristics to each other, and groups of men to each other, instead of following the traditional route of comparing observations in men with those made in women.

The results

This sex-specific analysis clearly shows that blood vessels work quite differently in men compared to women, both at the beginning and later in life. These changes begin already in the third decade of life and continue to be observed as the woman ages. They lay the foundations of heart and vascular diseases that look quite different in women compared to men.

Scientists discovered, for example, that blood pressure rises much earlier in women than in men. The increase in blood pressure in women also showed a much steeper slope than in men. To put this in perspective, hypertension will probably get much worse in women than in men. Cheng explains: “This means that if we define the hypertension threshold in the same way, a 30-year-old woman with high blood pressure probably has a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than a man with high blood pressure at the same age.” Changes in blood vessels only occur earlier, but the rate at which they increase is also faster in women.


The real point of this study may be the discovery of different variations in the pattern of hypertension in men and women, but it also highlights the need to involve more women in research and look for sex-related differences in the way the heart and women The vascular system works in both health and disease, according to co-researcher Christine Albert. She says it should be a great help to redirect researchers and doctors to look at women and their cardiovascular status in a different light. In summary, he comments: “This study is another reminder for doctors that many aspects of our evaluation and cardiovascular therapy must be tailored specifically for women. The results of studies in men may not be extrapolated directly to women. “

Journal reference:

Ji H, Kim A, Ebinger JE et al. Sex differences in blood pressure trajectories during the course of life. JAMA Cardiol. Published online January 15, 2020. doi: 10.1001 / jamacardio.2019.5306, https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/article-abstract/2758868


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