[Epidemiology of hypertension: Differences between women and men].


AP-HP, université Paris-Descartes, Hôtel-Dieu, centre de diagnostic et de thérapeutique, 75004 Paris, France. Electronic address: [Email]


PREVALENCE OF HYPERTENSION LESS FREQUENT IN WOMEN BEFORE MENOPAUSE: In adults, up to the age of 50-60, hypertension is an uncommon disease, less frequent in women than in men. The literature review does not determine whether this difference is related to a protective effect of endogenous estrogens on the risk of high blood pressure, to genetic or immuno-enzymatic differences related to sex but of non-hormonal origin or to a large number of confounding variables (salt consumption, alcohol consumption, fruit and vegetable consumption, body mass index, psycho-socio-economic factors, sedentary lifestyle). PREVALENCE OF HYPERTENSION INCREASES AT MENOPAUSE: After menopause, the risk of hypertension in women increases and quickly reaches that of men, even exceeding it from the seventh decade onwards. The factors that make hypertension more frequent after the seventh decade in women are related to differences in cardiovascular risk and life expectancy between men and women, as well as a likely surviving effect in older men. The mechanisms by which estrogen-progestin deficiency increases the risk of hypertension have been extensively studied. These mechanisms are obviously numerous. However, it has not been clearly demonstrated that hormone replacement therapy during menopause reduces blood pressure levels. It should be noted that the route of administration, the choice of molecules, the respect of the intervention window and the dosage seem to modulate the potential vascular effects.