Salim Yusuf

Published today in The Lancet, an analysis based on PURE study data showed that risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) are largely the same for women and men globally.

It is the first such study to include people not only from high income countries, but also from low- and middle-income countries where the burden of CVD is the greatest.

The global study assessed risk factors, including metabolic (such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes), behavioural (smoking and diet), and psychosocial (economic status and depression) in people without a history of CVD who were between the ages of 35 and 70.

The 156,000 participants lived in 21 low, middle and high-income countries on five continents; they were followed for an average of 10 years.

Overall, women had a lower risk of developing CVD than men, especially at younger ages. However, diet was more strongly associated with CVD risk in woman than men – “something that’s not been previous described and which requires independent confirmation,” said PHRI Executive Director Salim Yusuf, lead investigator of the study and senior author of the paper.

Marjan Walli-Attaei

High levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol and symptoms of depression were more strongly associated with CVD risk in men than in women.

The patterns of these findings were generally similar in high-income countries and upper-middle-income countries, and in low-income and lower-middle-income countries.

“Women and men having similar CVD risk factors emphasizes the importance of a similar strategy for the prevention of CVD in men and women,” says the paper’s first author Marjan Walli-Attaei, a PHRI Research Fellow.

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