Gender differences exist in cardiovascular or metabolic disease risk, beyond the protective effect of estrogens, mostly burdening the postmenopausal female. We aimed to review herein sex differences in pro-inflammatory states, the independence of inflammation from insulin resistance, differences in high-density lipoprotein dysfunction, in gene-environment interactions, and in the influence of current and former smoking on cardiometabolic risk. Sex differences in absorption of long-chain fatty acids are highlighted. Differences exist in the first manifestation of cardiovascular disease, men being more likely to develop coronary heart disease as a first event, compared to women who have cerebrovascular disease or heart failure as a first event. Autoimmune activation resulting from pro-inflammatory states, a fundamental mechanism for numerous chronic diseases in people prone to metabolic syndrome, is much more common in women, and these constitute major determinants. Therapeutic approaches to aspects related to sex difference are briefly reviewed.