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Sunday, September 04, 2005

Heart disease missed in women

Cardiovascular disease has been considered as male disease, but in fact that it kills 55% of women but only 43% of men. Dr Ghada Mikhail said that coronary heart disease in women is under-diagnosed, under-treated and under-researched.
Dr Mikhail, based at North West London Hospitals and St Mary's Hospital Trusts, said many women were unaware that coronary heart disease is their main killer - their biggest fear is breast cancer.

But even more worrying, she said, was the apparent lack of awareness of cardiovascular disease in women among healthcare professionals.

Dr Mikhail said women may have less common symptoms, such as back pain, burning in the chest, abdominal discomfort, nausea, or fatigue, which makes diagnosis more difficult.

They are also less likely to seek medical help, and tend to present late in the process of their disease.

In addition, they are less likely to have appropriate investigations, such as coronary angiography, which can delay the start of effective treatment.

She said research into heart disease also tended to focus on men - making it difficult to draw definitive conclusions about how to manage the condition in women.

Women typically account for less than 30% of participants in most trials.

Read more: Heart disease missed in women


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