Differences in the clinical presentation and resultant treatment of coronary artery disease (CAD) for men and women have sensitized advanced practice nurses to the importance of addressing gender issues when caring for women with CAD. Certain patient characteristics and clinical conditions may place women at higher risk of CAD development or progression. These factors include depression, African American status, menopausal status, age, type 2 diabetes, and thyroid function. In addition, female gender may adversely influence the relative benefits of cholesterol lowering in elderly women with borderline high serum cholesterol levels and response to interventions for modification of sedentary behavior and for smoking cessation. This article addresses emerging knowledge regarding gender differences in CAD risk factors and responsiveness to risk reduction interventions, issues regarding patient management, the implications of emerging knowledge on early detection of CAD risk factors more prevalent in women, and the development of targeted intervention approaches.

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