Women have an increased chance of getting heart attacks repeatedly, and early death because of it as heart disease is mostly taken as a male problem by doctors, according to a new study.
The study was conducted by researchers from the British Heart Foundation and the University of Leeds. The findings indicated that an increased number of women are dying because doctors do not offer stents to them for unblocking arteries or prescribe stents after the first heart attack.
Women At Higher Risk Of Death After Heart Attack Than Men
In Britain, coronary heart disease kills around 28,000 women and 42,000 men each year. However, thrice the expected number of female patients died in the first year after having the heart attack, the study found. The findings were based on data collected from over 180,000 patients and took account of the first 10 years of their life post a heart attack.
Researchers suggest that women are at a higher risk of death because they do not get the right life-saving treatment as doctors do not consider them to be in the high-risk bracket in the first place.
Experts Suggest A Change In Perception That Heart Attack Is Only Male-Centric
“We need to work harder to shift the perception that heart attacks only affect a certain type of person,” said Professor Chris Gale, a cardiologist and the co-author of the study.
Gale added that the general image of a heart attack patient is someone who is overweight, middle-aged, smokes, and has diabetes. However, this is not always true as heart attack impacts a wider reach and can impact women, too. Equal provision of treatments based on evidence should, therefore, be ensured for women as well, which is not the case at present.
The study indicated that women who suffered from heart attack, where a blood clot completely blocks an artery, have 34 percent less chance than men to get procedures to clear blocked arteries, subsequently restoring the flow of the blood to the heart, such as a stent or a bypass surgery.
Women have 24 percent less chance of getting stein prescriptions from doctors. Steins help in preventing the second incident of a heart attack. Female patients also have a 16 percent less chance of being prescribed a course of aspirins, a medicine that helps in preventing blood clots.
In cases where a woman patient received the same kind of a treatment and care that a man does, there was a dramatic decrease in heart attacks leading to deaths. Experts, therefore, said that the findings of the study are concerning and there is an urgent need to raise awareness to change the situation.