Gender Bias In Heart Attack Care Killing Women

Report suggests gender inequalities in diagnosis, treatment and aftercare.

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 – A new study indicates that women who suffer a heart attack in the UK are losing their lives unnecessarily due to various reasons, including failure to recognise symptoms and lack of care as compared to men.

According to a report by British Heart Foundation (BHF) cited by the BBC, there are inequalities in diagnosis, treatment and aftercare.

There is also a misperception that men and women experience completely different heart attack symptoms, but studies suggest that although symptoms can vary from person to person, chest pain is the most common symptom in both men and women.

And younger women do have heart attacks, the report says, which should be taken seriously.

“Unconscious biases are limiting the survival chances of women,” the report read, according to the BBC.

“Heart attacks have never been more treatable,” said Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, associate medical director of the BHF.

“Yet women are dying needlessly because heart attacks are often seen as a man’s disease, and women don’t receive the same standard of treatment as men.”

The report also indicated that around 35,000 women are admitted to hospital following a heart attack in the UK annually, and women are twice as likely to die from coronary heart disease as from breast cancer.

According to the report, women often delayed getting medical attention; they were more likely to receive an incorrect diagnosis and substandard treatment compared to men; risk factors, such as smoking and high blood pressure, increase heart attack chances more in women; and the quality of aftercare was also substandard.

“This problem is not unique to the UK,” Chris Gale, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Leeds said.

“Studies across the globe have also revealed gender gaps in treatment, suggesting this is a deeply entrenched and complex issue.

“On their own, the differences in care are very small, but when we look at this across the population of the UK, it adds up to a significant loss of life.”

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