The gender gap in risk factor control: Effects of age and education on the control of cardiovascular risk factors in male and female coronary patients. The EUROASPIRE IV study by the European Society of Cardiology

The aim of this study was to investigate gender related differences in the management and risk factor control of patients with coronary heart disease (CHD), taking into account their age and educational level.


Analyses are based on the EUROASPIRE IV (EUROpean Action on Secondary and Primary Prevention through Intervention to Reduce Events) survey. Males and females between 18 and 80 years of age, hospitalized for a first or recurrent coronary event were included in the study.


Data were available for 7998 patients of which 75.6% were males. Overall, females had a worse risk factor profile compared to males and were more likely to have 3 or more risk factors (29.5% vs. 34.9%; p < 0.001) across all age groups. A significant gender by education interaction (p < 0.05) and gender by age interaction effect (p < 0.05) was found. Furthermore, males were more likely to have a LDL-cholesterol on target (OR = 1.50[1.28–1.76]), a HbA1c on target (OR = 1.33[1.07–1.64]), to be non-obese (OR = 1.45[1.30–1.62]) and perform adequate physical activity (OR = 1.71[1.46–2.00]). In contrast males were less likely to be non-smokers (OR = 0.71[0.60–0.83]). Furthermore, males were less likely to have made a dietary change (OR = 0.78[0.64–0.95]) or a smoking cessation attempt (OR = 0.70[0.50–0.96]) and more likely to have received smoking cessation advice if they were smokers (OR = 1.52[1.10–2.09]).


Whereas gender differences in CHD treatment are limited, substantial differences were found regarding target achievement. The largest gender difference was seen in less educated and elderly patients. The gender gap declined with decreasing age and higher education.