Fewer women would die from heart attacks if they were given the same treatments as men, a study has found.
Researchers at the University of Leeds and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden analysed data from 180,368 Swedish people on the country’s online cardiac registry and found irregularities in the way women and men were treated.
The analysis revealed that women were less likely to receive recommended treatments after experiencing heart attacks, which proved life-threatening in the long-run. In fact, women were up to three times more likely to die than men in the year after having a heart attack.
While the analysis uses Swedish data, treatment guidelines for patients who have suffered from a heart attack are comparable across Europe and, worryingly, researchers believe the situation for women in the UK could be worse.
Study co-author Professor Chris Gale, from the University of Leeds, said: “Sweden is a leader in healthcare, with one of the lowest mortality rates from heart attacks, yet we still see this disparity in treatment and outcomes between men and women. In all likelihood, the situation for women in the UK may be worse.”
Why are women more likely to die after suffering a heart attack?
Emily McGrath, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), told HuffPost UK that women are less likely to seek help than men if they experience symptoms of heart attack, which can prove problematic.
“Symptoms can vary from person to person and women are less likely to recognise symptoms,” she said. “For example they might mistake a heart attack as indigestion, as the symptoms can feel very similar.
“Indigestion-like pain can make it difficult to determine whether it’s a heart attack or not. People may also feel sick, sweaty, short of breath and light-headed.”
The most common symptom of heart attack is chest pain or discomfort. “It often feels like heavy pain,” said Emily. “Pain can radiate to the arms, neck, jaw and back. You might experience pain down one side of the body or both. It doesn’t necessarily happen on the left side, which some people believe.”
Another reason for the increased deaths may be due to stereotypes of heart attack sufferers, held by patients and doctors alike.
Prof Gale explained: “Typically, when we think of a heart attack patient, we see a middle-aged man who is overweight, has diabetes and smokes. This is not always the case; heart attacks affect …read more
Source:: The Huffington Post – UK Tec