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Women could be getting the wrong treatment for heart failure

Researchers say this affects around 50 percent of all women who present with heart conditions

Photo (c) Tharakorn - Getty Images
Late last year, researchers from the British Heart Foundation highlighted the disparity between men’s and women’s healthcare, particularly when it comes to treatment following a heart attack. 

Now, a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Bergen found that women aren’t receiving the proper treatment following heart failure. 

“Men and women have different biologies and this results in different types of the same heart diseases,” said researcher Eva Gerdts. “It is about time to recognize these differences.”

Risk factors

The researchers explained that women experience a number of different health factors that contribute to the risk of heart failure. The findings go beyond just heart attacks, which have a clearer treatment plan. Knowing these risk factors can be helpful for women, as it can help medical professionals determine the best course of treatment. 

The study revealed that sex hormones could play a role in heart failure, as estrogen levels before menopause could affect the heart’s ability to function properly. However, once menopause hits, high blood pressure becomes a cause for concern, which can also increase consumer’s likelihood of heart failure.  

Obesity was another factor that frequently came into play. The researchers explained that women were more likely than men to not only gain more weight over time, but to struggle with obesity. 

“If we see this from a lifespan perspective, we can see that obesity increases with age, and that this trend is greater for women than men,” said Gerdts. “Obesity increases the risk of having high blood pressure by a factor of three. This, in turn, increases the risk of heart disease.” 

These findings are consistent with those of more recent studies, which have found how eating patterns and obesity are risk factors that can negatively contribute to heart health. 

Moving forward, the researchers hope that more work can be done to highlight these differences between men and women, as doing so could ensure that patients with heart failure are receiving the best course of treatment. 

“Heart disease remains among the most common cause of death and reduced quality of life in women,” said Gerdts. “Medically speaking, we still do not know what the best treatment for heart attack or failure is in many women. It is an unacceptable situation.” 

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