9 February 2021

A number of specific conditions in women are important in their risk of cardiovascular disease. These include high blood pressure during pregnancy, gestational diabetes and early menopause. Experts from various fields, from the Radboudumc among others, are calling for better alertness to high blood pressure in middle-aged women, as this is still too often not treated properly.

In this international guideline, now published in European Heart Journal, cardiologists, gynecologists and endocrinologists from several European hospitals advise on women-specific risk factors that may influence cardiovascular disease risk over the life course.

Early menopause

For example, women who go through early (natural) menopause before the age of 40 are more likely to have cardiovascular disease. Each year the risk of this increases by three percent. Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are more common in women than in men and also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Effects of high blood pressure during pregnancy

High blood pressure in pregnancy and, in particular, pre-eclampsia/HELLP, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease twice and the risk of high blood pressure four times, often at an early age. To identify high blood pressure in time, the authors recommend for these high-risk women to take regular blood pressure measurements at home.

Angela Maas, Professor of Women's Cardiology and first author of the article: "High blood pressure during pregnancy is a warning sign that a woman may develop hypertension later, often many years before menopause. It leads to an increased risk of dementia, heart damage, kidney problems and a higher risk of stroke. If high blood pressure is not treated until years later, it is much harder to get it right with medication."

Prevention and getting there earlier

More and more is becoming known about the importance of diet and lifestyle for high blood pressure. This is also true for women, as Angela Maas, also founder of Hart voor Vrouwen, points out. But she also argues that a different view of women with high blood pressure is needed. "Almost half of women have hypertension by the age of 60. It causes many symptoms in middle age, such as chest pain, pain between the shoulder blades, hot flashes, insomnia, cardiac arrhythmia and hot flashes. These are symptoms that are often wrongly attributed to menopause. The detection of hypertension in middle-aged women must be intensified."


Publication in European Heart Journal: Cardiovascular health after menopause transition, pregnancy disorders, and other gynaecologic conditions: a consensus document from European cardiologists, gynaecologists, and endocrinologists – Angela H.E.M. Maas, Giuseppe Rosano, Renata Cifkova, Alaide Chieffo, Dorenda van Dijken, Haitham Hamoda, Vijay Kunadian, Ellen Laan, Irene Lambrinoudaki, Kate Maclaran, Nick Panay, John C. Stevenson, Mick van Trotsenburg, Peter Collins. DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehaa1044.

  • Want to know more about these subjects? Click on the buttons below for more news.


Related news items

AI helps the defibrillator think

4 October 2021 In the future, the AED and the defibrillator will be able to do more than they do today. Now the devices can only give patients who need to be resuscitated a shock, but in time it will be possible, with the help of artificial intelligence, to say more about the condition of the patient. read more

Experts call for urgent action to reduce global burden of cardiovascular disease in women by 2030

17 May 2021 There is an urgent need to address this, states the international Lancet 'Women and Cardiovascular Disease' Commission read more

Water as a new tool for cardiac screening for chest pain

2 March 2021 Patients with chest pain not caused by a narrowing of the coronary arteries often do not know the cause of their symptoms. Scientists at the Radboudumc have successfully used a new technique to investigate other causes in the coronary arteries of the heart. read more

Cardiac function in relation to myocardial injury in hospitalised patients with COVID-19

16 July 2020 In Netherlands Heart Journal RIHS researcher Frederik van den Heuvel described that in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, COVID-19 predominantly affects the respiratory system, while cardiac dysfunction occurs less often. read more

More than 350 festival attendees learned CPR during the Lowlands Saves Lives trial

26 August 2019 During the 2019 Lowlands music festival, the Lowlands Saves Lives trial was performed by the department of Cardiology. The study was a huge success as over 350 participants were randomized and learned to perform CPR. read more

Three Royal decorations for RIHS researchers

29 April 2019 Peter de Smet, Harry Surayapranata and Stans Verhagen received royal honours for their exceptional academic and social achievements. read more