London: Women who are treated for high blood pressure are not given the same medication as men nor do they hit the treatment targets as often, Swedish researchers say.
The researchers from the University of Gothenburg' Sahlgrenska Academy looked at 40,825 patients treated for high blood pressure in primary care.
They found that women and men are prescribed different medication to bring down their blood pressure.
Women are also less likely than men to hit the general treatment target of blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg that is the threshold for high blood pressure.
The thesis shows that women are more often prescribed diuretic medication while men are given ACE inhibitors (which block an enzyme in the kidneys).
International guidelines recommend that patients with both high blood pressure and diabetes be treated with ACE inhibitors.
"But our study shows that women are less likely to be given this treatment. What is more, this discrepancy cannot be explained away by differences in other concurrent cardio-vascular disorders," said Charlotta Ljungman, doctoral student and author of the thesis.
The thesis also shows that the differences in treatment between women and men are greater in patients with limited education.
The fact that women are less likely to reach the target blood pressure is partly because they are generally older when diagnosed with high blood pressure.
"But this should not make a difference as older patients with high blood pressure also benefit considerably from treatment to lower their blood pressure," Ljungman added.