March is the month that the world focuses more on women. It is International Women’s’ Day on 8th of March, and only a month before, on 1st of February you have probably noticed the Red Dress Day, when special attention was paid to the cardiovascular diseases in women.
With the first days of spring, which in a way is a symbol of women, we in Wellbe want to give our small contribution to this special area of women’s’ health – the heart.
Today many are aware that a normal life cycle of a woman brings some specific health risks, among which certainly is cardiovascular disease. The sources report that it is the leading cause of death in women worldwide. Ischaemic heart disease accounts for a third of all female deaths globally.
Are women that fragile part of human kind that suffer from being treated as “multi-taskers” and at the same time having a duty to fulfil expectations that family, work and society put on their shoulders? According to the articles I have been reading while preparing this article, the inequality continues in case of health treatments, too.
I hope you would agree with me that discriminatory treatment towards women that we sometimes see when an emergency occurs in a cardiovascular failure should never happen. Even after seeking help, women get consistently worse care. Data published in “Women’s Health Issues” in December, last year, showed that women with heart attack symptoms were less likely to receive aspirin, be resuscitated, or be transported to the hospital in ambulances using lights and sirens than were men. These factors contribute to the disproportionately higher mortality in women with cardiovascular disease than in men.
Further on, when asked to describe a typical heart attack, most people (including most doctors), would describe a man with crushing chest pain. The failure to recognise the prevalence of heart disease in women and the different set of symptoms in women (feeling generally unwell or unexplained weakness) during a heart attack contribute to delays in intervention.
There is a need for greater inclusion of women in cardiology research, so that the findings and the reporting of sex differences are clearly understood. This will also help raising awareness of the implications for treating women with heart disease – once they are included in the studies more frequently.
It is interesting to mention a few types of heart problems that affect women more than men.
- One is chest pain and discomfort (angina),
- another is cardiac syndrome x (a problem that happens when people with healthy, unblocked arteries have chest pain and coronary artery spasms) and then
- the „broken heart syndrom“ – often triggered by extreme stress, such as intense grief, anger or surprise. Usually these short-lived symptoms do not cause permanent damage to the heart. Most women who experience broken heart syndrome are older, between 58 and 75 years old. This is probably due to a drop in estrogen levels after menopause.
The experts and many various specialists involved in women’s health and wellbeing are set out to take a fresh look at the issues we touched in this blog and to deliver clear recommendations that can improve lives of women with heart disease.
The Lancet, published 9th of March, 2019 “Time for a shift in women’s health