Editorials

Coronary heart disease in women

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7515.467 (Published 01 September 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:467
  1. Ghada W Mikhail, consultant cardiologist ([email protected])
  1. North West London Hospitals and St Mary's Hospital Trusts, London NW10 7NS

    Is underdiagnosed, undertreated, and under-researched

    Coronary heart disease remains the leading cause of death in men and women worldwide, and cardiovascular deaths exceed the number of deaths from all cancers combined. In the United Kingdom, coronary heart disease causes almost 114 000 deaths a year, and one in six occurs in women.1 In the UK and Europe, one woman dies every six minutes of heart disease and in the United States, one every minute. Moreover, in Europe, cardiovascular disease kills a higher percentage of women (55%) than men (43%).2 Yet coronary heart disease is still considered a disease of men.

    Many women are unaware that coronary heart disease is their main killer; their biggest fear is breast cancer. Even more worrying, however, is the apparent lack of awareness of cardiovascular disease in women among healthcare professionals. At the time of presentation with heart disease, women tend to be 10 years older than men, and at the time of their first myocardial infarction they are usually …

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