Heart problems in women often overlooked

29 July 2013

Doctors often fail to appreciate women's risk of heart disease and are less likely to recommend preventative action than they are to men, experts have claimed.

Researchers at Ohio State University in the US say that women are less likely to be given cholesterol-lowering statin therapy, aspirin or lifestyle advice, even if they have the same level of risk as male patients who would be offered these approaches.

This is despite the fact that a third of all deaths in women worldwide are due to cardiovascular diseases, which is an almost identical proportion to that seen in men.

In addition, the researchers pointed out that obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease to a greater extent than in men, and that women are more likely to have angina than their male counterparts.

Furthermore, females tend to have narrower coronary arteries and greater rates of coronary plaque erosion than men, as well as a higher risk of autoimmune diseases, which further increase their risk of heart problems.

Writing in the journal Global Heart, the study authors observed that heart disease's impact on women has traditionally been "underappreciated".

They concluded: "Further research regarding the pathophysiology of coronary artery disease in women, diagnosis and treatment strategies specific to women is required."

Posted by Philip Briggs

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