Women and Peripheral Arterial Disease: A Review of Sex Differences in Epidemiology, Clinical Manifestations, and Outcomes
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Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in women. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a manifestation of CVD and a marker for other adverse CVD outcomes such as ischemic heart disease and stroke, remains underrecognized and undertreated in women. Contrary to the previous belief that PAD is mainly a disease of white men, contemporary data suggest equal, if not higher, prevalence rates in nonwhite women. Women often present with asymptomatic or atypical disease and seek medical attention with more advanced disease. Cardiovascular morbidity and mortality rates, as well as procedural mortality rates, remain elevated in women compared with men. There are sex-specific markers and comorbidities with a higher female prevalence that are associated with PAD. Greater focus on PAD in cardiovascular trials, equivalent enrollment of women in large trials, and focused prevention strategies may help reduce the economic burden and adverse outcomes associated with PAD in women.