A British Heart Foundation report released this year found that women who suffer heart attacks are dying needlessly because they fail to recognise their symptoms and receive poorer care than men.
It found that over 10 years, more than 8,000 women in England and Wales died unnecessarily after a heart attack and warns that unconscious biases are limiting the survival chances of women.
The report says Women are twice as likely to die of coronary heart disease, the main cause of heart attack, as breast cancer in the UK. Yet it is still not always seen as a woman’s problem.
The report found that there are still commonly held myths – such as heart disease and heart attacks only affect men – meant many women are unaware of their risk, and don’t recognise symptoms so are slow to seek medical help.
There is also a misperception that men and women experience completely different heart attack symptoms, but studies suggest that although symptoms can vary from person to person, chest pain is the most common symptom in both men and women.
The report identified a number of gender bias differences in treatment detailed in a briefing called “Bias and Biology” which revealed the scale of inequality of treatment.
- Women having a heart attack delay seeking medical help longer than men because they don’t recognise the symptoms
- A woman is 50% more likely than a man to receive the wrong initial diagnosis for a heart attack
- Women are less likely than men to receive a number of potentially life saving treatments in a timely way
- Following a heart attack women are less likely to be prescribed medications to help prevent a second heart attack.
Women are dying needlessly from heart attacks in the UK, or not making as good a recovery as they could, because they don’t receive the same care and treatment as men.
If you or a family member have suffered as a result of late or misdiagnosis of a heart problem by either a hospital or GP then you may be entitled to compensation. The team at Gotelee can advise you and guide you through the process.