American Heart Association, Circulation Research, 4(130), p. 566-577, 2022
Full text: Unavailable
It is well known that cardiovascular disease manifests differently in women and men. The underlying causes of these differences during the aging lifespan are less well understood. Sex differences in cardiac and vascular phenotypes are seen in childhood and tend to track along distinct trajectories related to dimorphism in genetic factors as well as response to risk exposures and hormonal changes during the life course. These differences underlie sex-specific variation in cardiovascular events later in life, including myocardial infarction, heart failure, ischemic stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. With respect to cardiac phenotypes, females have intrinsically smaller body size–adjusted cardiac volumes and they tend to experience greater age-related wall thickening and myocardial stiffening with aging. With respect to vascular phenotypes, sexual dimorphism in both physiology and pathophysiology are also seen, including overt differences in blood pressure trajectories. The majority of sex differences in myocardial and vascular alterations that manifest with aging seem to follow relatively consistent trajectories from the very early to the very later stages of life. This review aims to synthesize recent cardiovascular aging-related research to highlight clinically relevant studies in diverse female and male populations that can inform approaches to improving the diagnosis, management, and prognosis of cardiovascular disease risks in the aging population at large.