Women face greater risk of heart disease

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British women are now at higher risk than men of dying from heart disease, apparently because of poorer treatment and low awareness of the problem, according to research.

British women are now at higher risk than men of dying from heart disease, apparently because of poorer treatment and low awareness of the problem, according to research.

The position is so bad in Scotland that women there top the world league for cardiovascular problems, said Dr Jill Belch, professor of vascular medicine at Dundee University.

Her team, which expects to publish its results next year, had uncovered "an imminent epidemic of heart disease in women", she said. "Women are alert to breast cancer, womb cancer and problems with the menopause but they don't realise that heart disease is most likely of all to get them. One in four of them are dying from the disease in the UK and, if you add strokes, the figure rises to one in three.

"Once they are diagnosed ...their chances of recovery are poorer than men ... They are less likely to be put in a coronary care unit ... It is also rare for them to have by-pass surgery."

Women tend to develop heart disease later than men, which may explain why the condition in women is under-researched, she said. In the US, rates are falling because women there have made lifestyle changes, such as taking more exercise.

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