Women less likely to have their heart health checked

March 1, 2017, George Institute for Global Health
Micrograph of a heart with fibrosis (yellow) and amyloidosis (brown). Movat's stain. Credit: Nephron/Wikipedia

A new report has highlighted a gender divide in the screening of patients for cardiovascular disease - Australia's number one killer.

Research from The George Institute for Global Health and The University of Sydney found men were significantly more likely to have their measured by their GP.

The study published in the journal Heart also found the odds of being treated with the appropriate preventative medicines were 37 per cent lower for younger at high risk of (CVD) than their male counterparts.

Associate Professor Julie Redfern, from The George Institute for Global Health, said the results were especially concerning because more women than men die each year from cardiovascular disease.

Associate Professor Redfern said: "Unfortunately there is still the perception that heart disease is a man's disease. This is not the case here in Australia, the UK or the US and we fear that one of the reasons more women are dying from heart disease is because they are not being treated correctly, including not even being asked basic questions about their health. "

Risk factors for CVD include raised cholesterol and levels and smoking. Female smokers have a 25 per cent greater risk of CVD than male smokers.

The study of more than 53,000 patients across 60 sites in Australia found the odds of women being appropriately screened was 12% lower than men.

It also found major discrepancies in the treatment of women at high risk of CVD. Younger women (aged 35-54) were 37% less likely than younger men to have appropriate medications, such as blood pressure drugs, statins and antiplatelets prescribed. By contrast, older women (aged 65 plus years) were 34% more likely than older men to have appropriate medications prescribed.

Karice Hyun, who undertook the research for her PhD at the University of Sydney, said: "It is simply unacceptable that more than half of young women in this study did not receive appropriate heart health medications.

"These medications can greatly reduce the likelihood of having a heart attack or stroke. If these findings are representative, many women could be missing out on life saving treatment right now - just because of their age and gender.

"This fundamentally needs to change. We need a system wide solution to addressing these very worrying gaps in heart disease-related healthcare to ensure women are treated equally across the health system."

Whilst the report highlighted gender disparity, it also revealed that just 43.3 per cent of all patients had all their necessary risk factors recorded, whilst only 47.5 per cent of patients at of CVD were prescribed preventative medicines.

Associate Professor Redfern added: "These findings really show that we need to do a better job of preventing and tackling CVD for all Australians if we have any hope to reducing the death toll."

Every year more than 45,000 people die from CVD in Australia.

Explore further: Disadvantaged women at greater risk of heart disease than men

More information: Heart, DOI: 10.1136/heartjnl-2016-310216

Related Stories

Disadvantaged women at greater risk of heart disease than men

January 19, 2017
Women from low socioeconomic backgrounds are 25 per cent more likely to suffer a heart attack than disadvantaged men, a major new study has found.

Young women less likely to be prescribed or take post-heart attack meds

October 13, 2015
Young women are less likely than young men to be prescribed or to fill their medication after a heart attack, according to new research published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality ...

Young women with diabetes have six-fold risk of heart attack

August 31, 2015
Women aged 45 years and under with diabetes have a six-fold risk of heart attack, according to research presented at ESC Congress today. The study in more than 7 000 women also found that young women who had a heart attack ...

Younger female heart patients more likely to need follow-up care

February 23, 2016
(HealthDay)—Women under 50 who've been treated once for heart disease seem to fare worse than similarly treated men, a new report shows.

Pregnancy in older age increases stroke, heart attack risk years later

February 17, 2016
Women who become pregnant at age 40 or older face a greater risk of stroke and heart attack later in life than women who become pregnant at a younger age, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's ...

Statin treatment reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in women

January 9, 2015
A large international study, published today in The Lancet, has shown conclusively that statin treatment reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in women.

Recommended for you

New link found between alcohol, genes and heart failure

May 25, 2018
The researchers investigated faulty versions of a gene called titin which are carried by one in 100 people or 600,000 people in the UK.

Study examines the rise of plaque in arteries

May 25, 2018
The accumulation of cholesterol plaques in artery walls can lead to atherosclerosis, or the hardening of arteries that contributes to heart attacks and strokes. In a new study, Yale researchers investigate how plaque cells ...

Low-dose aspirin could help pregnant women with high blood pressure avoid a dangerous condition

May 25, 2018
A daily dose of aspirin could help pregnant women in the first stage of high blood pressure avoid a condition that puts both mother and baby in danger, according to a new study.

Study shows in-home therapy effective for stroke rehabilitation

May 24, 2018
In-home rehabilitation, using a telehealth system and supervised by licensed occupational/physical therapists, is an effective means of improving arm motor status in stroke survivors, according to findings presented by University ...

Surgery involving ultrasound energy found to treat high blood pressure

May 23, 2018
An operation that targets the nerves connected to the kidney has been found to significantly reduce blood pressure in patients with hypertension, according to the results of a clinical trial led in the UK by Queen Mary University ...

New guidelines mean 1 in 3 adults may need blood pressure meds

May 23, 2018
(HealthDay)—One out of every three U.S. adults has high blood pressure that should be treated with medication, under guidelines recently adopted by the two leading heart health associations.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.