Sex-Specific Disparities in Risk Factors for Coronary Heart Disease
Current Atherosclerosis Reports
In the past two decades, focused research on women at risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) has helped to clarify our understanding of some of the sex-specific factors that are important in the prevention and early detection of coronary atherosclerosis with a resultant 30 % decrease in the number of women dying from CVD. In spite of these advances, CVD, specifically, ischemic heart disease due to coronary atherosclerosis is the leading cause of cardiovascular death of women in the USA. The 2010 landmark Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, "Women's Health Research-Progress, Pitfalls and Promise," highlighted the fact that although major progress had been made in reducing cardiovascular mortality in women, there were disparities in disease burden among subgroups of women, particularly those women who are socially disadvantaged because of race, ethnicity, income level, and educational attainment . The IOM recommended targeted research on these subpopulations of women with the highest risk and burden of disease. Causes of disparities are multifactorial and are related to differences in risk factor prevalence, access to care, use of evidence-based guidelines, and social and environmental factors. In this article, we review a few of the contributing factors to the disparities in ischemic heart disease in women with a focus on the subgroups of women of Black, Latino, and South Asian descent who are at high risk for morbidity and mortality from CVD.
School of Medicine
Occupational Medicine, Epidemiology and Prevention