New York: Doctors may need to treat high blood pressure in women more fiercely than they do in men.
In a study, the researchers for the first time found significant differences in the mechanisms that cause high blood pressure in women as compared to men.
“The medical community thought that high blood pressure was the same for both sexes and treatment was based on that premise,” said Carlos Ferrario, professor of surgery at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre and lead author of the study.
“This is the first study to consider sex as an element in the selection of anti-hypertensive agents or base the choice of a specific drug on the various factors accounting for the elevation in blood pressure,” added Ferrario.
“In fact, heart disease has become the leading cause of death in women in the United States, accounting for approximately a third of all deaths. So why the discrepancy if men and women have been treated in the same way for the same condition?” asked scientists.
In the comparative study, 100 men and women age 53 and older with untreated high blood pressure and no other major diseases were evaluated using an array of specialised tests that indicated whether the heart or the blood vessels were primarily involved in elevating the blood pressure.
The tests measured hemodynamic – the forces involved in the circulation of blood – and hormonal characteristics of the mechanisms involved in the development of high blood pressure in men and women, said the study published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Cardiovascular Disease.
The researchers found 30 to 40 percent more vascular disease in the women compared to the men for the same level of elevated blood pressure.
“We need to evaluate new protocols – what drugs, in what combination and in what dosage – to treat women with high blood pressure,” the study concluded.