Coronary Heart Disease Amongst Women
Coronary heart disease is one of the biggest killers amongst women in the UK, killing approximately 3 times more women than breast cancer.
Whilst both men and women in the UK are equally likely to suffer heart attacks, men are currently far more likely to be correctly diagnosed. The appropriate treatment can then be given to unblock arteries, reducing the risk of a heart attack proving fatal.
This may be due to the fact that doctors test for heart attacks by measuring levels of troponin, a protein that leaks into the blood from heart muscle cells after a heart attack.
Lower Levels Of Troponin
Women naturally have far lower levels of troponin, and they are therefore far more likely to be misdiagnosed
after suffering a heart attack. Such errors in diagnosis can prove fatal, bearing in mind that if a mild heart attack is not properly identified and treated there is a far greater risk of the patient suffering a more serious heart attack in the future.
At present, there are around 900,000 women in the UK who suffer with coronary heart disease. More than 30,000 women die from this disease each year.
In 2013, trials conducted by the University of Edinburgh led to the discovery of a new test which could identify heart attacks in twice as many female patients, ensuring that the right treatment was provided quickly.
Like the more traditional form of testing, the new test also works by measuring troponin levels. However, it is far more sensitive, meaning it can detect heart attacks in women which would previously have been missed.
This more sensitive form of testing has the potential to save the lives of many female patients.
In spite of this, many doctors have still not adopted the more sensitive form of testing, a fact which continues to place the lives of women suffering with heart disease at risk.