Did you know that the hearts of women are actually different than those of men? The fact of the matter is, females tend to develop heart problems such as blocked arteries and failures due to these differences, which can be compounded by unhealthy diets, a lack of exercise, and other detractors of heart health that also affect men. Since February is Heart & Stroke Month, we figured it an opportune time to highlight the risk factors of heart disease in women, why they’re being under-diagnosed and what can be done to help.
Differences in Women’s Heart Health
There are many complications that tend to affect women specifically, such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and hypertension during pregnancy, all of which are tied to potential heart problems. There are also conditions that are more frequently experienced by women such as autoimmune disease. In addition, women tend to have smaller arteries, increasing the risk of blockage, and cholesterol buildup in smaller blood vessels. At first glance, female hearts appear similar to those in males, so it requires a closer examination to really understand the differences between the two – and that’s before even factoring in the genetic properties associated with a greater likelihood of specific health issues that could lead to cardiovascular problems later on.
Equity Saves Lives
Many women experience more symptoms associated with heart attacks, but they’re often shrugged off and misdiagnosed. In such instances, assumptions and bias can cost lives. Women simply tend to describe more symptoms because they recognize them more readily. Combined with high-risk ethnic and social biases in many countries where problems women face are downplayed, there are many hearts in danger out there.
Algorithms for Accuracy
Equitable research is a must if we wish to accurately diagnose heart conditions in both sexes. That’s why new cutting-edge algorithms and analytical processes are slowly being implemented to aid practitioners, doctors, and nurses more effectively. For instance, risk factors more relevant to women in addition to ethnic-associated vulnerabilities are being examined more closely. There are other improvements on the horizon as well, such as enhancements to MRI and PET scans. However, all these changes require plenty of research, funding, and continued support from the healthcare community and the general public.
Healthcare professionals, the soldiers on the ground in the fight for healthy hearts, need the data and funding to ensure this is a conversation that doesn’t fall on deaf ears. At Qualicare, we firmly believe in fair and equitable treatment for all patients, especially when it comes to critical care such as prior to, during, and after heart events. With the continued support of local communities and established healthcare bodies, we hope to help more women than ever before!
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