Key points:  Heart disease is the leading cause of mortality in women. Assessing gender specific biomarkers may help diagnose women most at risk to develop cardiovascular disease (CVD) and optimize outcomes.  A recent study published in Circulation, analyzed over 3400 men and women and more than 30 biomarkers for CVD. Lew et al, saw numerous gender based differences when they evaluated common CVD biomarkers for lipids, adipokines, inflammation and endothelial dysfunction. Women showed higher levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol compared to their male counterparts.

Results of this study add to the increasing body of evidence supporting gender differences and risk of CVD. Understanding these biomarkers may also help researchers develop gender specific methodologies for the diagnosis and management of heart disease to improve patient outcomes.

Why is this clinically relevant?

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women in the United States
  • Compared to men, women in this study had higher HDL and lower LDL cholesterol levels in this study, biomarkers commonly associated with CVD were elevated in women as compared to men

Understanding these biomarkers may support development of gender specific methodologies for the diagnosis and management of heart disease.

Link to abstract


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