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Cardiovascular is something relating to the heart hence the term cardiovascular disease when referring to an illness that hinders proper heart function. Cardiovascular disease is a collective term for different problems of the heart or blood vessel to prevent proper pumping and flow of blood to all body parts. Below are some examples of cardiovascular diseases:

  • Heart failure
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Cerebral vascular disease (stroke)
  • Coronary heart disease (heart attack)
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Rheumatic heart disease
  • Cardiomyopathies

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death as they cause the death of more globally than other reasons. Around 30% of all deaths are as a result of VCDs with coronary heart disease and stroke leading other cardiovascular diseases. Most of these deaths occur in low and middle-income countries that record up to 80% of deaths that occur to VCDs globally. The estimate is that by 2030 the deaths of almost 23.6 million people will occur due to heart disease and stroke.

Various risk factors increase the chances of getting cardiovascular condition including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Tobacco use
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Poor diet /nutrition

Most of the above factors are manageable to reduce the risk, but cardiovascular risk also has a relation to age and gender that nobody can change. What are the risk scores?

Cardiovascular Risk Scores in Relation To Age

Heart disease might affect people of all ages but is more common among those in the older ages. The number of people who have heart diseases increases with age for both men and women. Approximately four out five of those who die due to heart disease are at the age of 65 or older. The risk for men b to develop CVDs is higher than women’s and begins earlier by nearly ten years. Almost one in a hundred men develops signs of heart disease by the age of 45. At the age 55, the risk increases and continues increase up to age 55 when about 7 out of a 100 get heart disease.

The reason why people many people get the cardiovascular disease at an old age is that the aging also occurs on the blood vessels making them to harden and less flexible. Less flexibility of the blood vessels makes it harder for blood to move through them and reduces the rate of flow. The heart needs to work harder to pump blood at a pressure that will pump blood through the hard vessels to reach all the body parts.

Fatty deposits (plaques) also collect on artery walls with age to slow down the flow of blood from the heart. These things together with lack of enough exercises and poor nutritional habits can increase the risk of heart disease. The increase is even higher id other risk factors that come with age such as diabetes are also present.

The gender of a person can increase the risk of age. Men are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and suffer heard conditions earlier. The risk of having a heart disease for women becomes as much likely as that of men when they reach menopause. At this age, they are more likely to die from cardiac complications than the men.

Women face many risk factors that also affect men such as high cholesterol, smoking and blood pressure but their high levels of estrogen help to reduce the chances of developing the disease until they reach menopause. It is at this age when the level of estrogen drops significantly. Diabetes is particularly a significant risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease in women. The symptoms of the heart disease in women with diabetes are very subtle. Women might have breathlessness or heartburn during a physical exertion rather than chest pains which is typical in men or among the people with diabetes.

Cardiovascular Risk Scores in Relation to Gender

Most men are at a higher risk of contracting a heart disease than women in their age group. Scientists blame the increased risk on unhealthy habits saying that they are partly to blame for the vulnerability of the men. The risk of heart disease among the omen only increases after menopause. The natural hormone which is in higher levels among young women could be playing a protective role in protecting the women from heart attacks. Unfortunate for men, their gender is a risk score, and it could be the reason why they get attacks at a younger age than women. Cardiovascular diseases are more likely to cause death to women until after menopause, but the number of those who contract the disease to the severity of causing fatality is still lesser than that of the men.

Why Cardiovascular Risk Scores Are Higher In Men than In Women

These are some of the reason why most of those who get CVDs are men.

1.Stress

A prominent theory on the reason many more men suffer from heart disease while younger than women is that they endure more stress from draining actions and heavy physical activities than women. Historically it is the men who were occupying the job roles with more stress while women engaged in the less engaging role or stayed at home. However, the gender gap in job responsibilities has been closing to the point where women are now occupying highly stressful job roles.

Some people believe that a likely cause of extreme stress in men is their limited ways of expressing emotional stress at workplaces and elsewhere than the women. The society accepts that women can express emotional feelings and even cry. On a behavioral level, women are likely to share their situation or create time for self-care such as taking a long warm bath or reading. These reactions to difficult circumstances help to relieve stress. The society frown upon men who cry or discuss their problems thus most of them bottles up everything allowing stress to take a more significant toll on their bodies.

Arteries tend to narrow when stress builds up and increase the blood pressure. It is a significant problem that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease for a man who already has narrowing arteries.

2.Diet and lifestyle

A weakness in the life of many men is that they have a habit of living unhealthy lifestyles than women and the trend causes a significant impaction their heart health. A significant risk factor for cardiovascular diseases among the men is their excess intake of alcohol. More men take a larger volume of alcoholic drinks exceeding the recommendations regularly compared to women.

A higher percentage of the men are overweight or obese compared to that of the women. A break down into the age range shows that the most significant gap is that of adults between the ages of 45-54. A higher number of men are overweight or obese than the women. Part of the difference in the number of men and women who contract heart diseases is because of a difference in their eating habits although cultural expectations also contribute. Men, in general, eat more meat than the women and most of the time they consume red meat in high quantity. Meats especially the red has elements that cause inflammation to the body and also have excess saturated fats that increase the risk of cardiovascular problems. Taking a few extra portions of red meat and fewer vegetables is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Part of the reason could be that eating meat especially red meat such as steak has for long been seen as a masculine behavior. On the other hand, women have a habit of eating more cruciferous, broccoli and leafy green than the men which is healthy as they do not have fat that clogs up the arteries.

3.High cholesterol

The diet habits of the men make them be at a higher risk of accumulating cholesterol the fatty substance in the blood. There is good, bad cholesterol that increases the risk of heart diseases if it is too much. It can cause a build-up of atheroma inside artery walls to prevent enough blood from reaching the heart or other body parts. A piece of atheroma can break off to settle in an artery, and it can cause an even more dangerous blood clot by blocking the flow of blood. The measure of cholesterol is accurate after evaluating the good (HDL) cholesterol and the bad (non-HDL). The non-HDL cholesterol should not exceed 4 millimoles per liter( mmol/L) of blood while the total cholesterol including the HDL should not exceed 5mmol/L.

4.Overweight or obesity

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of having CVD and other conditions including the type 2 diabetes. The term overweight means that the body mass index (BMI) is 25 or more. A BMI of 30 or more is in the classification of obese. The shape of the body and the place where the excess fat settles can increase risk of CVDs. BMI is not the only measurement of risk. Too much weight around the middle raises the risk of CVD and other conditions that are harmful to the body including high blood pressure, diabetes and high blood pressure. When fat in the middle makes the waist of a man to be more 94 centimeters (37 inches) increases the risk of heart disease. It is also the same for women who have a waist of more 80 centimeters (31.5 inches).

Cardiovascular Risk Scores for Women

Certain conditions that only occur to women increase their risk of having a cardiovascular disease.

i.Diabetes

Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease. Women with diabetes are at more risk of getting cardiovascular diseases that the men with the same condition. The risk is still high even after managing the glucose levels but even greater when there is no proper control of blood sugars. At least 68 percent of the people suffering from diabetes and are over 65 years die due to a form of cardiovascular disease, A percentage of patients with diabetes also die because of stroke. Women with diabetes should work with their doctors to control other risk factors. Diabetes patients should also make lifestyle changes such as engaging in regular exercises and eating a healthier diet to maintain a healthy weight.

ii.Reducing of estrogen levels

Estrogen helps to protect women from cardiovascular diseases because of a positive effect on the in a layer of the artery wall and helps to maintain flexibility of the blood vessels. It means they can relax as well as expand to allow blood flow. The advantage of a natural hormone that prevents cardiovascular diseases begins to diminish at menopause when the body starts producing less estrogen. A drop in estrogen levels is the reason why women become more vulnerable to heat attack as they get older. The average age of for women to great a heart attack is 70 but 66 in men.

iii.Lifestyle risk factors

Some aspects that cause the lifestyle of a woman to be unhealthy increases the risk of CVDs. Taking as high fat-diet, drinking, smoking, and inactivity cause a greater risk factor for cardiovascular diseases than in men.

iv.Broken heart syndrome

A broken heart syndrome occurs after going through stressful situations that might cause temporary failure of the heart muscle. It mostly affects women after menopause. Stress cardiomyopathy, takotsubo cardiomyopathy, and apical ballooning syndrome are the other names for this condition.

v.Pregnancy complications

Unhealthy conditions that occur during pregnancy such as diabetes of high blood pressure can increase the risk of their recurrence or staying in place after birth to increase the risk of development of the heart disease in mothers. Some research shows that children born to women who suffer from pregnancy complications might be at an increased risk of cardiovascular conditions in the future.

vi.Some Chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy

Some of the medications that doctors prescribe when treating certain cancers like that affecting the breast and radiation therapies might increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Mental stress and depression Stress and depression affect the heart of a woman more than a man's. A woman's heart and some of the interiors chambers are smaller than that of a man. The walls separating the chambers are also thinner. The smaller size makes the heart to pump blood faster, but it ejects lesser blood than that of a man by ten percent. The pulse rate for stressed women rises to make the heart to pump more blood, unlike men whose heart arteries constrict and raise blood pressure during stress. The problem for women occurs when stress turns to depression because it prevents them from maintaining a healthy lifestyle and adhering to recommendations by a doctor.

Women with inflammatory diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis as well as those from a familiarity with the history of cardiovascular diseases are at a higher risk.

Cardiovascular risk scores about age and gender show that men are more likely to get heart disease or stroke when younger. The risk of cardiovascular disease in women occurs when they are older but it is harder for them, and the treatment takes longer. A reason is that the age at which many get the disease is when they are likely to have other untreated risk factors such as blood pressure or diabetes.

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