‘Research into heart disease is too much on men”
Cardiovascular diseases are the number one killer in women, pointing to recent figures from The heart foundation. Each year it will kill more than 20,000 women to have a heart – or vascular disease, a day more than 55. But research within the health care system is mainly in the male patient-oriented.
“There is currently a tunnel vision in health care. It is also a profession where mainly men have the say. Male patients are often considered the standard. This symptoms in women are not well reviewed. There should be more zoomed in on the female patient,” says Angela Maas, vrouwencardioloog at the Radboud MC, in conversation with NU.nl.
Maas states that women with heart disease, the other symptoms than men. “Women have more suffering from cramp and men of narrowing. The daily practice is oriented towards the search for constrictions, a bias that men more often than women.”
Daily in the Netherlands die more than a hundred people a heart or vascular disease, which one in three is female. Every day more than 440 women in the hospital due to a heart or vascular disease. Thursday is the Day of the Heart, to draw attention to problems and complaints.
Maas: “Where a young woman now can look for is its weight, whether they smoke, eat healthy, and moving. In addition, if you know that heart disease in your family, be extra alert. Prevention starts early.”
Maas insists on more research for women with heart disease. “People in health care should be more gender sensitive and gender-specific act. So is the health care more efficient.” Jeanine Roeters van Lennep, Erasmus MC internist, agrees: “The focus is indeed mainly on the men.”
Emphasis Roeters van Lennep, that heart disease among young people, a topic that is quite underexposed. “You read little about young people and heart disease because it is rare. I still do in my practice, many young people under thirty with heart disease. They also tell that if they go to convalesce, especially people in their seventies.”
Dying every day 25 people under the age of 75 years to a heart or vascular disease. The amount of stress that their experience has an influence on the development of cardiovascular disease. “But stress is a difficult concept in medicine,” says Roeters van Lennep. “Heart disease often go hand in hand with an unhealthy lifestyle. If someone is stress, sports one often less, eat those unhealthy and smoke those more often.”
Because heart disease is more common in older people, young people don’t think of. Roeters van Lennep: “A heart attack is not often recognized, even though young people with chest pain to the doctor. This is actually related to age discrimination.”
The biggest culprit is still smoking, set Roeters van Lennep. “There is an increase in the group young women with heart disease who smoke. Smoking is worse for women than men. What is remarkable, is that women especially have difficulty with smoking cessation, because some fear would be to come. Men find it is generally easier to stop smoking.”