In the United States, heart disease is killing more women annually than all cancers combined. It’s the number one killer among females; about half a million die each year as a result of cardiovascular disease.
One key contributor to this alarming volume is that women are increasingly being undiagnosed for heart disease. Often times, women show no symptoms of heart disease. Many of those who ultimately die could have survived had they received the proper medication or angioplasty at the right time.
But even when treated, women typically have poorer outcomes than men. Women who have suffered and survived heart attacks are less likely to be referred to cardiac rehabilitation programs and are less often placed on medication than men who have had heart attacks.
Health care for women has historically focused on screening for breast, ovarian, cervical and other cancers. But few women realize that heart disease is the top killer for women over the age of 45. You might think these statistics have increased with time, but they haven’t. Cardiovascular disease has been the number one killer for women for the past century.
Screening for heart disease involves identifying potential risk factors:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Family history of heart disease
Your doctor will them perform a stress test and sometimes a coronary angiogram to examine your heart’s condition. The problem is that women are not always screened sufficiently-so for many, their first cardio even could have serious consequences.
Women are referred for testing less frequently than men because their risk factors are not addressed as aggressively. Cardiac disease has always been thought of as a male disease, even among medical professionals.
The best bet for women in avoiding heart disease is to control their risk factors by leading a healthy lifestyle:
- Watch your weight
- Eat a healthy diet
- Exercise regularly
- Refrain from smoking
But above all, the most important thing to avoid heart disease is to be proactive with your primary care physician. Even if you are having no problems, you should ask you doctor periodically what your blood pressure is; what your cholesterol is.
To learn more about undiagnosed heart disease in women and what you can do if your loved one has suffered due to medical misdiagnosis, please contact G. Eric Nielson & Associates today to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients in Salt Lake City, Price, Tooele and surrounding areas of Utah.