Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in industrialized nations, for women as well as for men. Yet women, especially younger women, show a lower incidence of cardiac-related death than men of the same age. The primary intent of this chapter is to explore possible reasons for the relatively 'protected' status of women compared to men with regard to coronary heart disease and its major disease precursors, hypertension and atherosclerotic vascular disease. However, the secondary intent is to underscore the opposite side of this coin. Despite the advantages associated with being female, no other disorder causes as much premature disability and death in women as cardiovascular disease and thus clinical treatment and research to reduce this excess mortality should be pursued with the same urgency as for men.