cardiovascular disease, risk factors, women



  1. Cao, YingJuan BN
  2. DiGiacomo, Michelle PhD
  3. Du, Hui Yun BN
  4. Ollerton, Eirwyn
  5. Davidson, Patricia PhD


Background: Globally, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death among women. In China, the burden of CVD is increasing at an alarming rate; yet, it is underestimated and has important primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention issues.


Aim: This article seeks to document the issues surrounding the increased rate of CVD among Chinese women and describe the etiological factors and potential strategies to decrease the burden of disease.


Methods: The Medline, Current Information in Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Ovid, Science Direct, and Government Reports were searched using the key words heart disease, cardiovascular, ischemic heart disease, coronary, women, and Chin (China, Chinese). Articles were selected if they described epidemiological factors and/or interventions to address heart disease in Chinese women.


Findings: Rapid industrialization and urbanization in China have extended the life expectancy of the population, particularly among women. Social, political, and economic factors have caused lifestyle changes that have a direct bearing on health. Heart disease has become the most common cause of death among Chinese women and the second most common cause among men. Paradoxically, prevention and management strategies are sparse in relation to the high prevalence. A number of modifiable risk factors have been identified as major contributors of CVD and should be a focus of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention.


Conclusion: Cardiovascular disease is already a leading cause of death and disability among Chinese women. The high prevalence of risk factors and low rate of awareness, treatment, and control signal an urgent need for focusing on this issue in Chinese women. Strategies on individual, community, and government levels are recommended. Involving Chinese nurses in these strategies is essential.