Heart Disease: Women Less Likely to be Prescribed Statins Than Men

  • Researchers report that men with heart disease are treated with statins more often than women with the same condition.
  • They noted that cholesterol-lowering drugs are used more frequently soon after diagnosis and declines are seen over the next three years, with the decline being more pronounced in women.
  • Women suffer from heart disease less often than men, but the death rate from it is higher.

with men heart disease is treated high cholesterol more often than women suffering from heart diseaseAccording to Research Presented at ESC Preventive Cardiology 2024, a scientific conference of the European Society of Cardiology.

In their study, which has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, Swedish scientists examined the electronic health records of 1,452 people (1,037 men and 415 women) with chronic cardiac syndrome diagnosed between 2012 and 2020 .

The average age of the subjects was 68 years for men and 70 years for women. None of the participants had previously heart attack,

The researchers looked at data on cholesterol levels and drug distribution from the Swedish National Prescribed Drug Registry.

The participants were followed for three years after diagnosis. At the end of the third year, 54% of women were treated Cholesterol lowering drugs Compared to 74% of men. Five percent of women were treated statins Compared to 8% of men.

Researchers also investigated Cholesterol levels in individuals Diagnosis and treatment of coronary syndrome in different age groups:

  • less than 60
  • 60 to 69
  • 70 to 79
  • 80 and older

The scientists reported that prescriptions for cholesterol-lowering treatments (statins) were highest immediately after diagnosis and declined in all age groups over the next three years.

The decline was more pronounced in women than in men.

Among people under age 60, 65% of women and 79% of men received cholesterol-lowering medication after diagnosis, the study authors reported. After three years, 52% of women and 78% of men continued receiving the treatment.

reach and maintain goals ldl cholesterol levels It was less in women than in men.

“The data showed that providers did not offer statins as often as men,” he said. Dr. Lakshmi Mehtaa cardiologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, who was not involved in the study.

“One barrier has been the complexity of prescribing medications during the childbearing years,” Mehta told Healthline. “When statin therapy was recommended, women were more likely It is more likely to be rejected and discontinued after starting treatment. “Women have less confidence in the safety and effectiveness of statins in preventing heart disease.”

The disparity isn’t just when treating cholesterol-related problems.

according to a Article In International Journal for Equity in HealthGender inequality in health care is embedded in the health system.

The authors reported that over a 21-year period, women were diagnosed with more than 700 different diseases later than men.

“The study highlights an unfortunate disparity in our health system that leads to undertreatment women suffering from heart disease,” Said Dr. Sameer Aminchief medical officer of LA Care Health Plan in California, who was not involved in the study. “As a medical community, we need to ensure equal access to preventive care and remodel our prescribing practices so that they are agnostic to patients’ gender, ethnicity, background, and beliefs.”

“Like most complex issues, inequality is multifactorial,” Amin told Healthline. “Changing course will require a more aligned system of care that directly addresses these disparities. We need to move toward a more algorithmic approach to cardiovascular care. Similar to goal directed therapy to treat blood-borne infections, we know what to do and when to do it. We need to ensure that our prescribing practices have automated triggers and reminders so that patients don’t fall into the gaps. More can be done to strengthen primary care with a focus on culturally sensitive care.

Experts say there isn’t just one reason for the disparity.

“Although I don’t think it’s intentional, women in health care settings receive less care than men,” said Dr. Yu-Ming Ni, a cardiologist and lipidologist at the MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in California, who was not involved in the study. “In recent times, the American Heart Association has worked to raise awareness about heart disease in women. There is a misconception that men have more heart disease than women, but this is to ignore the fact that heart disease does happen. number one killer Of men and women.”

“We need to raise awareness and put more emphasis on gender-based care. I think a lot about inequities — not just gender but also socioeconomic,” Nee told Healthline. I hope the new generation of doctors is more aware of gender bias.

According to one, women are less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases than men. Study Published in 2023.

However, they have a higher rate of death from heart disease. The study authors say heart disease in women is underrecognized and often untreated.

“Despite statins reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke, historically women in the US have received less aggressive treatment than men in terms of cholesterol management,” Mehta said.

cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins It is recommended for both men and women with coronary artery disease. They may help reduce symptoms and prevent heart attacks and death. If statins alone do not lower cholesterol levels, the European Society of Cardiologists recommends adding a second drug, such as ezetimibe (zetia,Vytorin,

“The majority of patients with statin intolerance that I see are women,” Nee said. “This may explain less ongoing treatment with statins, but it would not explain the disparity in initial prescriptions for them.”

Despite similar recommendations for men and women, women are less likely to lower their cholesterol and achieve target levels.

“Cholesterol-lowering drugs save lives and prevent heart attacks and should be given to all patients with coronary artery disease,” Dr. Nina JohnsonA study author and cardiologist at Uppsala University in Sweden said in a press release. “Unfortunately, our study shows that women are missing out on these essential medicines.”

“Our findings should be a warning about under-treatment for women with heart disease,” she said. “Similar prescribing practices are needed so that women receive all recommended treatments and are protected from adverse outcomes.”