Screening - Heart Disease in Women

Heart disease is not just a male affliction but one that affects women too. Surveys investigating health concerns in women consistently show that they primarily fear cancer, in particular breast cancer, and yet cardiovascular disease was responsible for 27% of deaths in women in the UK in 2017, compared with just 4% for breast cancer. Despite these figures many women still do not appreciate their cardiovascular risk.

Unfortunately equivalent figures for the last few years are not so easily obtainable, since many people died from Covid-19 who would have otherwise died from other causes, but we will update these numbers as soon as the data are more readily available.

The prevalence of heart attack increases with age and there are clear gender differences in the manifestation, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. Women are more likely to present with chest pain and angina rather than a heart attack, but the diagnosis can be more elusive in women; the nature of the chest pain is not always characteristic and certainly over the years women have been less likely than men to receive treatment such as stenting and bypass surgery. Fortunately matters are improving but it has taken some considerable time.

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