Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the leading causes of mortality in developed countries. The incidence of CVD is sexually dimorphic, and research has focused on the contribution of sex steroids to the development and progression of the cardiometabolic syndrome, which is defined as a clustering of interrelated risk factors that promote the development of atherosclerosis (which can lead to CVD) and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Data are inconclusive as to how sex steroids and their respective receptors increase or suppress the risk of developing the cardiometabolic syndrome and thus CVD. In this Review, we discuss the potential role, or roles, of sex hormones in cardiometabolic health by first focusing on the influence of oestrogens and their receptors on the risk of developing cardiometabolic syndrome and CVD. We also highlight what is known about testosterone and its potential role in protecting against the development of the cardiometabolic syndrome and CVD. Given the inconclusive nature of the data regarding the direct effects of each sex hormone, we advocate and highlight the importance of studying the relative levels and the ratio of sex hormones to each other, as well as the use of cross sex hormone therapy and its effect on cardiometabolic health.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism