Women at higher risk of mortality from heart failure

Women diagnosed with heart failure may be at a higher risk of dying from the condition than men according to new research

The study, published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, is the latest to identify a gender gap when it comes to heart disease.

To understand sex differences in heart failure outcomes, researchers looked at data on more than 90,000 patients diagnosed with heart failure in Ontario over five years (2009 to 2014).

They found that compared to men, women were 14 per cent more likely to die within a year of being diagnosed with the condition than men.

Previous research highlighted the fact that survival rates after heart attacks were worse for women than men, that women had different symptoms than men and that they often received less immediate treatment. But it's particularly acute in women: Since 1984, heart disease has killed more women than men each year.

Dr. Louise Sun is one of the lead investigators of the study, a cardiac anesthesiologist and a clinical epidemiologist at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

Furthermore, scientists found that while hospitalization rates for heart failure have declined in men, they have increased in women.

The heart is not pumping to meet the needs of the body in heart failure, and common signs include fatigue, shortness of breath and swelling in the legs.

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"There's something that we're doing right in men that we're not doing right in women, so that's why we really need to raise awareness of this". All the patients were ambulatory, meaning not hospitalized when diagnosed.

They found that from the total group of patients diagnosed with the condition, 47% were female, whom were also more likely to be older, frailer, to have a lower income, and to have multiple chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure.

During the study period, hospitalisation rates for women surpassed rates for men, with 98 women per 1,000 hospitalised in 2013 compared with 91 per 1000 men.

Women who were examined in the investigation were additionally older and more fragile than their male colleagues and had a tendency to have a lower financial status.

"Further studies should focus on sex differences in health-seeking behavior, medical therapy and response to therapy to improve outcomes in women", they write.

The results of the study clearly indicated that more and more female patients were dying because of heart failure.

'We're also seeing a significant increase in people going to hospital with heart failure, as the population ages and more people develop the disease after surviving a heart attack.

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