Women tough out heart disease.
In a clinical research study entitled Gender and Perceived Severity
of Cardiac Disease: Evidence that Women are "Tougher,"
researchers at the College of Pharmacy and Cardiovascular Health Center,
University of Michigan, found that women rated their heart disease no
more severely than men, even though women had more symptoms, were taking
more medications and had worse health status. The 490 respondents - 348
men and 142 women--were matched for race, age and similar type of acute
coronary syndrome, including heart attack and angina. The researchers
believe that this "tough" attitude may help explain why women
delay seeking medical care when they experience symptoms of acute
coronary syndrome, such as angioplasty or coronary artery bypass graft
surgery. Women also tend not to go to post-heart attack rehab programs
involving exercise and education to improve their health. Says Eva M.
Kline-Rogers, nurse practitioner and one of the study's
researchers: "Because women are the primary caregivers, they may
ignore their symptoms when they feel there is no one to tend to their
elderly mothers or critically ill husbands. But they need to realize
that heart disease is the number one killer for women just as it is for
men. They also should not ignore heart-attack symptoms that are more
typical to women such as sudden and unusual fatigue, shortness of breath that comes on suddenly and is persistent, unexplained back pain and
nausea." (The American Journal of Medicine, vol. 118, Issue 11, pp.
1256-1261, November 2005).