The fact that chronic kidney disease (CKD) and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are closely related would not surprise any healthcare professional. Of note, the data show that the primary cause of death resulting from CKD is a cardiovascular event and also that CKD is one of the important risk factors for CVD.
We have established data that CKD awareness and research are lagging despite the significant impact of this disease on patients and the healthcare system. CVD, traditionally thought to be a “male” problem, is actually the main killer of older people of both sexes universally. In fact, each year CVD is the cause of more deaths in older women than in older men (7.4 million women over 60 years of age compared with 6.3 million men in 2004). In addition, CVDs are thought of as diseases of affluence, whereas in reality, cardiovascular mortality rates for older women are more than twice as high in low-income and middle-income countries as in high-income countries. In addition, women are less likely to seek medical help and therefore may not receive timely and appropriate care.
To make matters even more concerning is the lack of attention to sex and gender differences in the focus of research. This article attempts to assess the impact of sex and gender in both diseases and to highlight areas of gaps in research. We attempt to highlight sex and gender awareness and its relevance to designing appropriate trials, and to bring attention to strategies for increasing the inclusion of women as research participants going forward.
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