Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the single leading cause of death in both men and women. A large proportion of the population with CVD will die with a diagnosis of congestive heart failure (CHF). It is becoming increasingly recognized that sex differences exist in the etiology, development, and outcome of CHF. For example, compared to male counterparts, women that present with CHF are typically older and have systolic cardiac function that is not impaired. Despite a growing body of literature addressing the underlying mechanisms of sex dimorphisms in cardiac disease, there remain significant inconsistencies reported in these studies. Given that the development of CHF results from the complex integration of genetic and nongenetic cues, it is not surprising that the elucidation and subsequent identification of molecular mechanisms remains unclear. In this review, key aspects of sex differences in CVD and CHF will be highlighted with an emphasis on some of the unanswered questions regarding these differences. The contention is presented that it becomes critical to reference cellular mechanisms within the context of each sex to better understand these sex dimorphisms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis