Neglect of women’s heart health happens repeatedly in primary care physicians’ offices. Researchers looked at more than 43 international studies with 2.2 million patients and found that primary care doctors write fewer prescriptions for aspirin, statins and ACE-inhibitors (high blood pressure meds) for women who are at high risk for a heart attack or with established cardiovascular disease than for similarly endangered men. In fact, women receive 19% fewer aspirin prescriptions; 10% fewer statin prescriptions and 15% fewer ACE-inhibitors than men.
That means women need to be vigilant guardians of their heart health by making sure primary care docs regularly check inflammation markers, LDL cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and discuss the potential repercussions of the results. If you have elevated blood pressure, lousy LDL cholesterol or a chronically increased level of inflammation and are not prescribed medication to combat it, ask, “Why are you not recommending a statin?” “Would high blood pressure medicine help protect my heart and brain?” And “What can I do to reduce the inflammation?”
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women.
Also, be aware that signs of heart attack can be different in women. These include:
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