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Women Receive Different Treatment for Hypertension than Men

First Posted: Oct 15, 2014 03:48 AM EDT

Women treated for hypertension receive different medication than men, a new Swedish study reveals.

It is reported that nearly a third of the Swedish adult population is affected by high blood pressure. Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure is one of the most common risk factors for cardiovascular events like stroke, heart failure and heart attack in both women and men.

In the latest study, researchers at the University of Gothenburg found that women who are treated for hypertension receive different medication than men and most often fail to hit the treatment target. They based their finding on the analysis of 40,825 patients who were treated for hypertension at the primary care.

They observed that it is women who are less likely to hit the general treatment target of blood pressure - below 140/90 mm Hg (which is threshold for high blood pressure). It was seen that women were given diuretic medication and men on the other hand were given ACE inhibitors. This inhibitor is known to block the enzyme in the kidneys.

"International guidelines recommend that patients with both high blood pressure and diabetes be treated with ACE inhibitors," said doctoral student and medical doctor Charlotta Ljungman, author of the thesis. "But our study shows that women are less likely to be given this treatment. What's more, this discrepancy can't be explained away by differences in other concurrent cardiovascular disorders."

The thesis also showed that the difference in the treatment is more among those with limited education. Women are less likely to attain the target blood pressure, mostly because they are older when they are diagnosed with high blood pressure.

"But this shouldn't make a difference, as previous studies have shown that older patients with high blood pressure also benefit considerably from treatment to lower their blood pressure, not least to prevent the development of disorders such as stroke, dementia and heart failure," said Charlotta Ljungman.

While treating high blood pressure, it is important to attain the target blood pressure. The fact that women are less likely to attain the target reveals the need for certain measures to be taken that enhance the treatment.

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