A research study has found that women who have suffered heart attacks are more likely to be misdiagnosed afterwards in comparison to men.
Researchers at the University of Leeds have found that women had a 50 per cent greater chance of being misdiagnosed after a heart attack than men.
This is of great concern, because - as stated by the researchers - receiving the right diagnosis and getting treatment are vital in recovery. In addition to this, those who were misdiagnosed had a 70 per cent increased risk of death, in comparison to those who had received the right diagnosis and been treated, who had a risk of death of 30 per cent.
As a result, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) is calling for all doctors and nurses to be more aware of the signs and symptoms of those who have suffered a heart attack. Heart conditions are common in the UK and according to the BHF there are around 275,000 women in the UK who have survived a heart attack.
Many of these survivors go on to live the rest of their lives with weak heart muscles, so an adequate diagnosis earlier on is crucial, not just for treatment and recovery, but also for a better quality of life. The longer the patient goes without being treated adequately, the worse the devastating effects of a heart attack become. The heart muscles can become damaged beyond repair, for example.
In addition to this, the right diagnosis is important in order to ensure that suitable support is given to the patient. Organisations like the British Heart Foundation work to increase awareness of heart conditions through charity events as well as funding scientific research. Those who have suffered from a heart condition, or those who have a relative who has suffered from a heart condition, can find support through the BHF.
Most importantly, though, prevention is better than cure. While heart conditions are common in the UK, there are ways to protect yourself from ever suffering from one later on in life.
Lifestyle is key: eating a healthy and nutritious diet, staying active on a regular basis - the recommended amount is 150 minutes a week - watching your weight and avoiding smoking all help to reduce the risk of a heart attack. All in all, incorporating healthy eating and living habits into your life is a great way to reduce your risk of a heart attack or cardiovascular disease.