Heart health: Are women getting incorrect treatment?

A review of research on causal factors of heart disease in each sex has highlighted major differences in how conditions are caused and present in women.

Alarmingly, the review also indicates that these differences are often not taken into account by healthcare providers, resulting in an increased risk of women developing and dying from heart failure. Further, the authors claim that there has been insufficient research conducted to know the best treatment for heart failure in women.

Several factors are linked to increased heart disease risk for women. The primary cause is the rising rate of obesity rates in women, combined with physiological differences in how fat is stored in female bodies. Hormonal differences also contribute significantly, with estrogen helping to protect women from heart disease until the onset of menopause, when dropping levels of the hormone have the opposite effect. The final cause presented in the review are socioeconomic factors such as lower levels of education, employment and income, as well as lifestyle issues such as increased rates of smoking in women.

The study authors hope that by placing more emphasis on these differences, health professionals can more effectively identify patients at high risk of heart disease and help them to manage their health accordingly. In the longer term, they hope their work will further research into the most effective interventions and treatments for women.

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Source: Medical News Today

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