Heart disease is a problem you may think only men need to worry about. But a new study suggests often the problem goes undetected in women, and they're not getting treated for it.
The study, in Tuesday's issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests heart disease sometimes goes ignored in women, or is diagnosed as something else. One Heartland doctor says even though the study has some good points, it needs further research.
Cardiologist Dr. Tim Talbert says, "The doctor may not want to believe heart disease in women, thinking they don't have the risks of males, but that's not true in this day and age." Dr. Talbert says close to 50 percent of his patients are women. He says the number of women with heart disease or heart problems is steadily on the rise. "Many patients will say I don't have chest pain just pressure sensation. I will tell them you just described heart disease," he says.
A symptom Talbert says patients can't ignore. But a new study suggests some women may be ignored adequate treatment. In a study of more than 2,500 hundred women with heart disease, researchers found beta blockers were only prescribed to a third of the women who should be taking them, and cholesterol lowering drugs were only prescribed to about half. They also found that aspirin was also underused. But Dr. Talbert says both women and men are under treated in general with the newer approaches. "Our prototype for all these treatments for heart disease are male, they typically are the ones who get the disease, and there may be reluctance from the patient to realize the problem and get to the doctor."
Another problem, Talbert says, is the study doesn't look at how often beta blockers and cholesterol-lowering drugs were offered to men. "The study does not address direct comparison women who get heart disease and get treated for it and men in the same study," he says.
Again, Talbert is asking all women to pay attention to the symptoms, this is the one thing you can do to increase your chances of being treated properly.
You can see the study by clicking on this link: