Challenges associated with peripheral arterial disease in women
Jessica Barochiner, Lucas S Aparicio, Gabriel D Waisman
Hypertension Section, Internal Medicine Department, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Abstract: Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is an increasingly recognized disorder that is associated with functional impairment, quality-of-life deterioration, increased risk of cardiovascular ischemic events, and increased risk of total and cardiovascular mortality. Although earlier studies suggested that PAD was more common in men, recent reports based on more sensitive tests have shown that the prevalence of PAD in women is at least the same as in men, if not higher. PAD tends to present itself asymptomatically or with atypical symptoms more frequently in women than in men, and is associated with comorbidities or situations particularly or exclusively found in the female sex, such as osteoporosis, hypothyroidism, the use of oral contraceptives, and a history of complications during pregnancy. Fat-distribution patterns and differential vascular characteristics in women may influence the interpretation of diagnostic methods, whereas sex-related vulnerability to drugs typically used in subjects with PAD, differences in risk-factor distribution among sexes, and distinct responses to revascularization procedures in men and women must be taken into account for proper disease management. All these issues pose important challenges associated with PAD in women. Of note, this group has classically been underrepresented in research studies. As a consequence, several sex-related challenges regarding diagnosis and management issues should be acknowledged, and research gaps should be addressed in order to successfully deal with this major health issue.
Keywords: peripheral arterial disease, women, diagnosis, management
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