Women’s Battle with Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart.  The World Health Organization’s summary tables show that over 17.3 million people die each year due to cardiovascular disease.  The highest numbers of deaths occur in the Western Pacific and Europe, while the lowest numbers of deaths are in Africa.  CHD is the leading cause of death in the United States for men and women.  A recent study by the American Heart Association noted some interesting statistics regarding women with CHD and drew some comparisons to men as well.  Here are some key takeaways from this 2016 study:

6.6 million women are afflicted by heart disease annually.

2.7 million women have suffered a heart attack.

262,000 women are hospitalized for an acute coronary syndrome each year.

53,000 women die from heart attack each year.

50% of women have 3 or more metabolic risk factors for ischemic heart disease.

Compared to men, women are more likely to die within the first year after a heart attack and within the first 5 years after a heart attack.  Women are also more likely to have depression, diabetes mellitus, heart failure, hypertension or renal dysfunction.  They are more likely than men to suffer bleeding complications after PCI, to be readmitted to a hospital within 30 days of an index event, and to die in a hospital.

Interestingly, the study also shows that women are less likely than men to be treated with guidelines-directed medical therapies, to undergo cardiac catheterization, and to receive timely reperfusion.    Women are also less likely to participate in cardiac rehabilitation or to be enrolled in a clinical trial.


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