Tag Archives: women

Doctors more likely to miss heart attacks in women

Women have a 50% higher chance than men of receiving the wrong initial diagnosis following a heart attack, according to a study by the University of Leeds.

Why are women more likely to be misdiagnosed?
Why are women more likely to be misdiagnosed?

There are two main types of heart attack, although both result in serious damage to the heart muscle:

• STEMI, when there is a total blockage of the main artery that pumps oxygenated blood around the body.

• NSTEMI, which is more common, is a partial blockage of one or more arteries.

This research found that women who had a final diagnosis of STEMI had a 59% greater chance of a misdiagnosis compared with men. Women who had a final diagnosis of NSTEMI had a 41% greater chance of a misdiagnosis when compared with men.

This is not helpful, because receiving a quick diagnosis and getting the correct treatment after a heart attack is important in ensuring the best possible recovery.

Both men and women who were misdiagnosed had about a 70% increased risk of death after 30 days compared with those who had received a consistent diagnosis.

The British Heart Foundation, which part-funded the research, is urging people to be more aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, to avoid mistakes being made in diagnosis.

Don’t forget your smear test!

Across the UK 22% of women fail to turn up for cervical screening (or smear test), according to figures from the NHS Screening programme, rising to one in three of 25-29 year olds.

Smear test

The smear test involves taking a sample of cells from the cervix which is then examined for cancerous abnormalities. Regular screening provides a high degree of protection from cervical cancer.

Screening is not a test to find cancer. It detects abnormalities at an early stage so that preventative action can be taken. Without screening about one in 60 women will develop cervical cancer. Screening can prevent the cancer developing in around seven out of 10 cases.

How often you are invited for screening (ladies only!) depends where you live:
• England, Wales and N Ireland
Women aged 25-49 every 3 years
Women aged 50-64 every 5 years
• Scotland:
Women aged 20-60 every 3 years

If you have missed a test recently see you GP. If you get summoned, please go! To find out more about cervical cancer go to http://www.jostrust.org.uk/

Dementia hits women the hardest

The impact of dementia is being felt disproportionately by women, according to the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK.


Not only has dementia become the leading cause of death among women, but women are more likely to become carers of people with dementia, the charity says.

Currently 850,000 people are living with dementia across the UK and 61% of them are women. The condition, which is caused by brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, results in distressing symptoms including memory loss, confusion and personality changes, which get worse over time.

Dementia is the leading cause of death for women in the UK, accounting for 12% of women’s deaths in 2013.

Between 60 and 70% of all unpaid dementia carers are women, and women are more than twice as likely to provide intensive, 24-hour care than men.

Got a leaky bladder – you are in good company

A leaky bladder –or urinary incontinence, to give it the medical name – affects around a third of women. It is more likely to occur with increasing age, and is caused by a number of underlying health problems.

Urinary incontinence ?

While it is rarely life-threatening, it can awkward and unpleasant. It is also thought that many women are too embarrassed to seek advice, or they do not know what treatments are available.

Urinary incontinence can be brought on by stress (physical or emotional), urgency (a sudden need to urinate) or an overactive bladder. Keeping a ‘bladder diary ’and recording when leakage occurs can help your pharmacist to provide the most appropriate advice and products.

Lifestyle changes are important as they can improve symptoms. As a first step bladder training for a minimum of 6 weeks is now recommended. This should include advice on the amount and types of fluids to drink, and coping strategies to reduce urgency. Pelvic floor exercises may also be included.

Absorbent pads can provide security and comfort and help you continue with normal activities. A variety of such products will be available from your pharmacy, along with practical advice n their use.

Focus on ovarian cancer

March was Ovarian Cancer month. The disease is responsible for some 4,300 deaths every year in the UK, making survival rates here among the worst in Europe.


Each year there are 7,000 new cases and by the time three quarters of these are diagnosed the cancer has already spread, making treatment more difficult. So what should you look out for?

The symptoms of ovarian cancer are frequent (they usually happen more than 12 times a month) and persistent, and include:

• Increased abdominal size/persistent bloating (not bloating that comes and goes)
• Difficulty eating/feeling full
• Pelvic or abdominal pain
• Needing to wee more urgently or more often

Other symptoms can include unexpected weight loss, change in bowel habits, and extreme fatigue. If you regularly experience any of these symptoms, which are not normal for you, it is important that you see your GP and get checked out.

GPs are now instructed to carry out tests in women especially over the age of 50, if they experience any of the above symptoms on a persistent or frequent basis

Find out more at http://ocam.org.uk/

Women unaware of their stroke risk

One in eight women in the UK believes that a stroke could never happen to them, according to a poll published by the Stroke Association. This is despite the fact that around 30,000 women die from a stroke every year and it is the third leading cause of death in women in the UK.

Are you aware of your stroke risk?
Are you aware of your stroke risk?

Simple lifestyle changes such as keeping blood pressure under control, exercising regularly and stopping smoking, can significantly lower your likelihood of having a stroke. Ask your pharmacist for further advice.

The research also found that women have different attitudes towards the consequences of stroke compared to men. Memory loss was one of the most feared consequences of a stroke for men, while a greater proportion of women feared losing their ability to talk!

Find out more at: www.stroke.org.uk/women