Biopolym. Cell. 2010; 26(2):87-96.
Cardiovascular disease risk factors for women. A life course-events perspective
1, 2Hobel C. J., 1, 2Arora Chander P.
  1. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center,
    Burns-Allen Research Institute and the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine
    8635, West Third St., Ste 160W, Los Angeles, CA, USA, 90048
  2. David Geffen School of Medicine,
    University of California Los Angeles
    10833, Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, USA, 90095


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) in women is the most common cause of death and in 2009 accounted for one third of all deaths. The purpose of this paper is to present what conditions during pregnancy and during the pre-menopause period lead to a greater risk of CVD. The early recognition and the application of interventions may decrease this risk. To emphasize this point we have taken a «Life course-events perspective». Current data suggests that genetic predisposition to disease in conjunction with behavior and environmental factors during fetal life is related to permanent changes in fetalplacental-maternal physiology and function, resulting in fetal programming characterizing the phenotype of the child which may persist into adulthood. Longitudinal studies have identified biological, behavioral and environmental factors related to childhood diseases such as hypertension, insulin resistance and mental health disorders. Gender differences have been identified and animal studies have suggested that estrogens in women are protective and when the risk of CVD in men is considered, the risk in women is delayed by 10 years. Thus, a normal pregnancy may be protective and reduce the risk of CVD in women. However, hypertension developing in women before or during pregnancy is a significant risk factor for women and diabetes further increases this risk of CVD, as does smoking. It is very clear that an «intervention action plan» must be developed. It is the current opinion of the authors that this action plan must be implemented early in life to decrease the risk for the development of CVS in women.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease, women, pregnancy


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