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Cardiovascular disease on the rise among UK women

Tuesday 19th September 2017
Cardiovascular disease diagnoses have increased markedly among women over the last decade. Image: spukkato via iStock
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The number of women in the UK suffering from cardiovascular disease has increased significantly over the past decade, according to a new report.

Statistics published by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) show that 549,000 women visited hospital with complaints relating to heart disease or a stroke between 2005 and 2006. Ten years later, this had risen to 642,000, marking an increase of 93,000.

This means there has been a 50 per cent increase in the number of females seeking hospital treatment for cardiovascular disease over the last 20 years, as the total figure stood at 420,000 back in 1995. Meanwhile, in the early 1980s, it came in at under 250,000.

As a result, this indicates that heart disease and strokes in women are a growing problem, with recent research carried out at the University of Leeds showing that women are more likely to experience poor outcomes than men with regard to cardiovascular disease.

In fact, it was found that women were 50 per cent more likely than their male counterparts to receive the wrong initial diagnosis from their doctor. This suggests cardiologists need to ensure they are treating patients of both genders with the same accuracy when assessing them for signs of heart problems, despite many viewing these as a 'man's illness'.

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director at the BHS, commented: "These figures reveal the high and growing burden of heart and circulatory disease on the NHS.They specifically highlight that women are not immune to heart diseases and there is a need for more awareness so they receive better and prompt care.

"We urgently need to fund more research to better understand the impact of heart disease and help develop new and better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat it."

The charity hopes that additional research into the area will help to lower the number of women who die from heart attacks and strokes in the UK each year from its current 78,000. Overall, it is thought that some 3.5 million women are living with cardiovascular disease across Britain.

Written by Mathew Horton

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