Heart Disease in Women

Essay by mugsmulliganUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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When it comes to heart disease the stereotypical candidate is male, middle age, overweight, and lives an unhealthy lifestyle. But now women are being added to this list of high-risk candidates. "Heart attack is the leading cause of death in American women" (Internet 1). Womens symptoms have been ignored and mistreated when it comes to mild symptoms and discomforts associated with heart attacks. Not only was it the patients fault but that of the doctors. Doctors would diagnose men more readily and refer them to the next level of tests and treatments needed, but in women this did not happen. Men are more likely to receive clot busting drugs and other invasive techniques (PTCA, CABG) than women. In this day and age people have become so accustomed to men having heart attacks that the women just fall through the cracks, "women who have heart attacks are twice as likely as men to die- many with in the following year" (internet 1) because they go untreated.

The factors protecting women were thought to be estrogen. Women are protected until after menopause when the estrogen levels decrease. This is a good theory but may not be entirely correct. There may be other reasons why heart attacks do not show up until later in a female's life. They may include changes in the body, activity level, even heredity. All these factors need to be examined closely before hormone replacement takes place. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, estrogen and progestin replacement therapy showed some significant evidence against the increased leels of estrogen. The study consisted of women between the age of 50-79, postmenopausal and living in the same geographical location for at least three years during the 6.5 year study. Two groups of women were used; first group...