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Factors that underlie the gender differences in cardiovascular diseases

Groeneveld, M (2016) Factors that underlie the gender differences in cardiovascular diseases. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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For both men and women cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death in the world. More and more research shows that there are gender differences in the prevalence and outcome of cardiovascular diseases. However, why these gender differences in cardiovascular diseases exist is not fully understood. Therefore the aim of this essay is to find out which factors underlie the gender differences in cardiovascular diseases. Women develop cardiovascular diseases 7 to 10 years later than men. Also the type of cardiovascular diseases that men and women develop is different. As a first manifestation, women show most times cerebrovascular diseases, where men show most times coronary heart disease. There are a lot of studies that suggest gender differences in symptom presentation when experiencing cardiovascular diseases. It appears that women have more frequently atypical symptoms, which is partly due to a different pain perception and symptom reports. However, studies do not agree on the details of these gender differences. Besides, there are also gender differences in the effect of the therapy of cardiovascular diseases, like lifestyle changes, the use of statins and hormone replacement therapy. Several studies suggest gender differences in the risk factors of cardiovascular diseases, like the effect of smoking, obesity, the metabolic syndrome, psychological factors and in diseases like diabetes mellitus. However, the studies disagree on the details. The main gender difference that has been found is the difference in lipid profile. Premenopausal women show lower LDL cholesterol levels and higher HDL cholesterol levels than men. After menopause women develop a higher LDL cholesterol level than men due to a decrease in oestrogen levels. Women show therefore more cardiovascular diseases at this age. Oestrogen has a protective effect when it comes to cardiovascular diseases. In conclusion, hormone differences play an important role in the gender differences in cardiovascular diseases, mainly because of the impact on the lipid profile. However, it cannot declare all gender differences. Also gender differences in the prevalence of the risk factors play a role. Studies still disagree on the details. Probably a combination of several factors is responsible for the gender differences in cardiovascular diseases. However, more research and clinical trials with women are needed to find out all the factors.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 08:25
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 08:25

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