Published: Wed, July 18, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

Mortality rates from heart failure are higher among women

Mortality rates from heart failure are higher among women

For a considerable length of time, health specialists have attempted to challenge the impression of heart failure as a man's sickness and bring issues to the light of its lopsided effect on women.

Many recent types of research indicate that there is significant progress in reducing the rate of heart failure, but none of them have provided enough information on how the rate of heart failure varies between the two sexes. Heart attacks are usually why most patients over the age of 65 get to the hospital, but patients are not always diagnosed with heart failure. Ongoing exploration demonstrates heart disappointment rates have declined, in spite of the fact that data on sex contrasts in results for people is inadequate.

The study followed people who were newly diagnosed with heart failure over five years from 2009 to 2013.

Dr. Louise Sun, an anesthesiologist and researcher at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, says the research highlights the differences in the way heart disease affects men and women.

Now a new study out of the University of Ottawa finds women are at greater risk of dying from heart failure than men. But it's particularly acute in women: Since 1984, heart disease has killed more women than men each year.

"Further studies should focus on sex differences in health-seeking behavior, medical therapy and response to therapy to improve outcomes in women", they write.

The higher death rate and hospitalization may be because women aren't being diagnosed early.

Within one year of follow-up after diagnosis, 16.8 per cent (7,156) women died compared with 14.9 per cent (7,138) men. These female patients were likely to be quite older and weaker, come from a lower income background and have multiple chronic illnesses.

During the study period, hospitalisation rates for women surpassed rates for men, with 98 women per 1,000 hospitalised in 2013 compared with 91 per 1000 men.

Mielniczuk says it is important for researchers to learn why there is a gender discrepancy.

Among potential reasons, she said, is that women tend to suffer from a different form of heart failure than men. It can be more hard to diagnose, many women are much older when they are diagnosed, and the treatments available are much less effective.

Harvard Medical School also revealed that women are more likely than men to develop "small vessel disease", where "blockages occur in the tiny vessels within the heart muscle rather than in the large, surface arteries, which are harder to detect".

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