So, where is the love of sisterhood when you need it most?
For female heart patients the answer is not very lovely at all. New research out of the University of Warwick indicates female physicians are less likely to recognize heart disease in their female patients than are male physicians.
Previous findings indicate that twice as many women as men, aged 45-64, have what are known as "silent" myocardial infarctions - undetected heart attacks. This clearly points to a diagnostic dilemma.
The study utilized videotaped male and female actors, ages 55 and 75, who presented with symptoms of coronary heart disease (CHD). Among other risk factors, the patients' age is a hallmark in the consideration of CHD. As people age, their risk for CHD increases. Both male and female physicians recognized this key factor - among the male patients.
When diagnosing the female patients, the consideration of age was significantly different. The female physicians took the patients age into consideration for female patients only 50% of the time. With the male patients, they felt age was a factor 91% of the time.
What does this mean?
In the short run, it means more women heart patients without a proper diagnosis. In the long run, it means that methods must be developed to assure proper diagnosis and treatment of female heart patients.
Dr Adams, the study's lead researcher, says "We need to raise awareness about the importance of increasing age as a risk factor for CHD amongst women, to reduce delays in diagnosis."
So, what's the bottom line? Well, it seems that if a pair of Traveling Pants deserves a Sisterhood, then a true condition of the heart deserves no less...