According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 17.9 million people die from cardiovascular disease each year. Of these deaths, 80% are due to coronary heart disease (such as a heart attack) and cerebrovascular disease (such as stroke). Many people assume that men have a heart attack more than women.
But, at its 2020 digital conference, the European Society of Cardiology said women are more likely to die after heart attacks than men. But this is only true for postmenopausal women, that is, after their period has stopped.
Estrogen protects women from heart disease
European scientists conducted a study on 2,000 patients, 1,778 men and 222 women under the age of 45, who were admitted to hospital with the complaint of a heart attack between 1998 and 2002. It was also noted that smoking, alcohol consumption, high cholesterol levels and diabetes were more common in men than in women.
After a 20-year follow-up, it was found that women were less likely to have a second heart attack than men. However, stroke cases were higher in women. Scientists have said that the better prognosis in women is because women have healthier arteries. It has been found that in men heart problems occur due to blocked arteries, while in women they occur due to other reasons such as coronary dissection, which has a better chance of being treated with a lower risk of recurrence.
Scientists added that women, before menopause, have an appropriate amount of estrogen in their body, which protects the heart from all possible damage.
Radiomics: A better technique for scanning heart disease in women
It is an established fact that the organs of men and women are different due to the different levels of hormones in their bodies. But this makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose heart problems in women, as they can exhibit different symptoms than those seen in men.
It has been reported that women suffer more from tissue damage, scarring and muscle stiffness, while men have coarse heart muscle with a larger area.
However, a new method of deep scanning called radiomics can help better visualize the state of the heart. Radiomics are already used to diagnose cancer.
To test the effectiveness of this imaging technique, scientists performed MRI scans on the hearts of 309 men and 358 women in the 45 to 74 age group.
After that, the scientists used radiomics to examine the left ventricle, which is the heart’s main pumping chamber.
Older females’ heart muscles were seen to appear brighter in radiomic scans, which may indicate damage and stiffness.
With this study, the scientists concluded that this could be one of the reasons why women suffer from a disease in which their heart pumps normally but is unable to circulate enough blood in the body. This is the reason for heart failure in at least half of the cases in women.
Scientists believe this analysis can help diagnose women and men faster and more accurately.
For more information, read our article on women’s health.
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