For years, health experts have struggled to challenge the perception of heart failure as a man’s disease and raise awareness of its disproportionate impact on women. A new study signals there’s more work to be done.
The researchers analyzed more than 90,000 patients diagnosed with heart failure in Ontario during a five-year period starting in 2009. They found that women were more likely to be hospitalized, and were more likely to die as a result of the condition, particularly within one year of diagnosis, according to the study published on Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
For men, signs of a heart attack, for example, are easier to spot. Women suffer more muted symptoms and are sometimes misdiagnosed as a result. “There is a lower index of suspicion,” Dr. Sun said of heart failure in women.
“Women have been under-researched, under-diagnosed and under-treated,” Ms. James said. Because of this, heart failure treatment for men has advanced over the past 10 years, while treatment options for women are behind. “Unfortunately, that gap is larger than we would like to see,” Dr. Sun said.