Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Home Health Thousands of women's lives are at risk because general practitioners dismiss cardiac...

Thousands of women's lives are at risk because general practitioners dismiss cardiac insufficiency as "keratitis"

General practitioners are more likely to miss fatal heart failure in women, as many consider it a male disease.

Even if diagnosed, they are less likely to get the right treatment than men.

    Women are at a higher risk of dying from heart failure because general practitioners do not recognize the signs - because many see it as a male disease

Getty – Contributor

Women are at a higher risk of dying from heart failure because general practitioners do not recognize the signs – because many see it as a male disease

Bad care endangers life

Experts warn of "sub-optimal" NHS coverage that threatens thousands of lives.

The Oxford University study examined more than 93,000 heart failure cases in the UK.

It was found that most of those affected were picked up late – only after ill British landed in the hospital.

Late treatment dramatically shortens survival, with 20 percent of patients diagnosed with a GP dying within one year.

However, the risk increases to 36 percent if the cause of death is discovered in the hospital.

The study shows that women are worse off and nine percent less likely to notice their condition than GPs.

It is also 13 percent less likely that they will be prescribed two key treatments than men. Older British are also worse off.

Not only fat, but also endangered old types

Researchers claim that family physicians miss more cases in women because they see them as less risky and look for fat middle-aged men.

Around 920,000 Britons suffer from heart failure – 190,000 new cases are detected each year.

As a result, the heart has difficulty pumping blood through the body and is the leading cause of hospital admissions over the age of 65 years.

Traditionally, cardiovascular disease and congestive heart failure were mainly considered a male disease. However, the same number of women are affected later in life

Dr. Nathalie Conrad

The victims fight for breathing and suffer from swollen legs. There is no cure, as many sufferers eventually need a transplant or die young.

The lead researcher Nathalie Conrad said, "Heart failure is a serious condition and early diagnosis is crucial for physicians to quickly initiate life-saving medications.

"Our findings suggest that out-of-hospital screening for early signs of heart failure and follow-up is not optimal, and women and elderly are particularly vulnerable to these shortcomings in the current management of heart failure.

"General practitioners may not see women as high risk. Traditionally, cardiovascular disease and congestive heart failure were mainly considered a male disease.

"But the same number of women are affected, just later in life."

Family doctors miss cases

The study is published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

It shows that in 2014 only 36 percent of those affected were identified by primary care physicians – compared to 56 percent in 2002.

And only one out of every six hospitalized patients had his illness in his family doctor's records the following year.

KNOW THE SIGNS

Heart failure means that the heart can not pump blood properly through the body.

In most cases, the heart becomes too weak or stiff.

The disease can occur at any age but is most prevalent among the elderly.

It is a long-term disease that worsens over time and can not be cured but can be treated.

The symptoms vary from person to person and can occur very suddenly or develop over weeks or months.

Common signs are:

  • Shortness of breath – this can happen after training or at rest, and can be worse if you lie down. Some people will wake up at night trying to catch their breath
  • Tiredness – You could feel tired all the time and feel physical exertion
  • Swollen ankles and legs – this is caused by an accumulation of fluid and is usually better in the morning, but gets worse during the day

Less common symptoms are:

  • a persistent cough that is worse at night
  • wheeze
  • bloated stomach
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • confusion
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • fast heart rate
  • Tapping, fluttering or irregular heartbeat

You should consult your GP if you notice these symptoms, although in most cases they may be caused by less severe conditions.

If you have severe or sudden symptoms, select 999.

For more information, visit the NHS website.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "It is important to realize that this can affect both men and women.

"General practitioners know how important an early diagnosis is and are well-trained to look for the symptoms of heart disease. However, diagnosis in primary care is known to be difficult, as the early symptoms are often vague and can mimic more common diseases. "

Jacob West of the British Heart Foundation said, "Heart failure is a devastating, incurable disease.

"Nobody with heart failure should be given inferior care because of their age or sex, but this study shows that older people and women have widespread inequality in care."


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