Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death for women in Europe and worldwide. Not only does heart disease account for one-third of women’s deaths globally, but they suffer from worse outcomes and higher mortality than in men.1
Heart failure (HF) is a chronic and progressive disease where the heart is too weak or stiff to either relax or contract properly.1 This can develop when the heart is affected by a heart attack or other conditions that cause insufficient blood flow and the demands of oxygen and nutrients are not met. For patients with HF, fluid builds up in the lungs and legs, making daily activities difficult due to fatigue and shortness of breath.1
The incidence of heart failure is increasing, particularly among women, and constitutes a rapidly growing public health problem.2
Patients with heart failure nearly doubled worldwide from 33.5 million in 1990 to 64.3 million in 2017,3 with higher prevalence in women and patients over 60 years of age.4 Furthermore, between the ages of 65 and 85 years, it is estimated that the incidence of HF triples in women with each 10-year increase, whereas the rate of incidence of HF doubles in the same time frame among men.2 Increase in disease progression may be due to insufficient awareness among women and physicians of sex-specific symptoms and presentation of CVD.5
While women have a significantly lower incidence rate of heart failure compared to men (at all age categories except >74 years), they still account for approximately half of the prevalent cases; notably HFpEF is more common in women.6
In Sweden, the prevalence of Chronic HF has been estimated to be 2.5% overall, and was recorded as the cause of death in 3.4% of women and 2.4% of men. The estimated mortality in Sweden was higher in women than in men (3.2 and 3.0/1000 person-years, respectively).7 In the Swede-HF registry, women accounted for 55% of all HFpEF patients and only 29% of all HFrEF patients.6
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