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AimThis study examined sex-based differences in associations of vascular risk factors with incident cardiovascular events in the UK Biobank.MethodsBaseline participant demographic, clinical, laboratory, anthropometric, and imaging characteristics were collected. Multivariable Cox regression was used to estimate independent associations of vascular risk factors with incident myocardial infarction (MI) and ischaemic stroke for men and women. Women-to-men ratios of hazard ratios (RHRs), and related 95% confidence intervals, represent the relative effect-size magnitude by sex.ResultsAmong the 363 313 participants (53.5% women), 8 470 experienced MI (29.9% women) and 7 705 experienced stroke (40.1% women) over 12.66 [11.93, 13.38] years of prospective follow-up. Men had greater risk factor burden and higher arterial stiffness index at baseline. Women had greater age-related decline in aortic distensibility. Older age [RHR: 1.02 (1.01-1.03)], greater deprivation [RHR: 1.02 (1.00-1.03)], hypertension [RHR: 1.14 (1.02-1.27)], and current smoking [RHR: 1.45 (1.27-1.66)] were associated with a greater excess risk of MI in women than men. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was associated with excess MI risk in men [RHR: 0.90 (0.84-0.95)] and apolipoprotein A (ApoA) was less protective for MI in women [RHR: 1.65 (1.01-2.71)]. Older age was associated with excess risk of stroke [RHR: 1.01 (1.00-1.02)] and ApoA was less protective for stroke in women [RHR: 2.55 (1.58-4.14)].ConclusionOlder age, hypertension and smoking appeared stronger drivers of cardiovascular disease in women, whereas lipid metrics appeared stronger risk determinants for men. These findings highlight the importance of sex-specific preventive strategies and suggest priority targets for intervention in men and women.

Original publication




Journal article


European heart journal. Quality of care & clinical outcomes

Publication Date



William Harvey Research Institute, NIHR Barts Biomedical Research Centre, Queen Mary University of London, Charterhouse Square, London, UK.