Women's Health

Risk factors for women & heart disease


Many thanks to Dr Eric Westman for this week’s topic. Eric sent me a paper which was published in JAMA Cardiology on January 20th, 2021. It was called "Association of lipid, inflammatory, and metabolic biomarkers with age at onset for incident Coronary Heart Disease in women" (Ref 1). The goal was to examine first incidence of heart disease in women and to see which baseline characteristics of those women were associated with heart disease. Women were examined in four groups, providing an age-dimension to the study. The age groups were under the age of 55; 55 to under 65; 65 to under 75 and 75 or older.

With the caveat that this was only a study of women, and only a study of American women (and thus not generalisable to men and/or other populations) the study produced some remarkably interesting findings, which might well be more widely applicable.

The study

The researchers reviewed 28,024 women from the US Women's Health Study. The average (median) follow-up was 21.4 years. The women were aged 45 or older. They did not have cardiovascular disease (CVD) at the start of the study. The researchers were interested in more than 50 lipid, inflammatory, and metabolic risk factors, and biomarkers (these included factors from BMI to cholesterol and from activity to diabetes).

The outcome of interest was the first confirmation from medical records of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). CHD was defined as any of the following: a first heart attack, percutaneous coronary intervention (a stent being fitted), coronary artery bypass grafting (heart bypass surgery), or death from CHD.

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