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Sex Differences in Hypertension: A Question worth Asking?

Published on: 21st January, 2017

OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 7317592194

Hypertension is a complex disorder involving multiple organ systems and the primarily modifiable risk factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the World. Although both men and women develop hypertension, distinct gender differences in the incidence and severity of hypertension are well established where men have a higher incidence of hypertension compared with women of the same age until the sixth decade of life [1,2]. Despite gender differences in human hypertension, the treatment guidelines do not differ by gender [3]. Even if the causes of hypertension are complex and are related to genetic factors, lifestyle, diet structure, and environmental factors including air pollution [4], coupled with the potential determinants of hypertension, sex differences in hypertension-which exist in human populations-are attributed to both biological and behavioural factors. The biological factors include sex hormones, chromosomal differences, and other biological sex differences that are protective against hypertension in women. These factors become prominent in adolescence and persist through adulthood until women reach menopause. Behavioural risk factors for hypertension include high body mass index, smoking, and low physical activity.
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