Women get poorer heart care than men

4th December 2013

Women are undertreated and underserved with respect to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, says a new book.

Women's symptoms are often minimised and attributed to stress, anxiety or other psychiatric diseases, says Dr Kevin Campbell in his publication "Women and Cardiovascular Disease: Addressing Disparities in Care"

In his book and an accompanying article written for MedPage Today, he calls for women to be empowered to help improve their own heart care.

He says the disparity exists in the UK, America and other industrialised nations in Europe.

He says that traditionally heart disease has been thought of as a man’s disease, an image supported by the way the media portrayed people having heart attacks.

But more women than men die each year from cardiovascular disease. Survival has improved for men, but remained the same or declined for women.

Advocacy and educational efforts continue to lag far behind the ever-expanding gender gap in cardiac care. Government agencies and policymakers in both government and industry are not doing enough to help close the gap.

To improve things more must also be done to educate and improve awareness among doctors and other caregivers. “We must improve awareness of risk for cardiovascular disease in women (and their families and loved ones) all over the world,” he said.

He added: “The goal of this book is to be a first step in narrowing the gender gap in cardiovascular care and to open the eyes of healthcare providers - medical professionals and practitioners and policymakers -  to promote better cardiovascular care for all individuals, irrespective of gender.”