AF riskier for women

I just heard about this news story on five live:

"Having an irregular heartbeat poses a greater health risk to women than men, a review of 30 studies, involving more than four million patients, suggests.

The women with atrial fibrillation (AF) were almost twice as likely to have fatal heart disease and strokes.

Women may respond less well to AF drugs or are being diagnosed later than men......."

14 Replies

  • Hi Mark, Is this not why women have an extra score in Chadsvasc? Not sure it is really anything new. Also some time ago it was suggested that women frequently had poor rates of diagnosis because they like to make the most of their appearance and may not look ill to GPs. That and the old patronising "its your age" thing is a double wammy rather sadly.

  • Yes it probably is Bob. However I hadn't seen that women were at twice the risk of a stroke as men. Also the one on the Chadsvasc for being a woman is only applied after they reach 65. Maybe it should apply regardless of age?

  • Also see the link to the original trial:

  • Maybe we should all be on anticoags regardless of CHADS!!

  • Yes there are quite a lot who believe that. Also to be fair, others don't. My view is to be safe as possible so would take them if ablation had worked.

  • We are also biologically predisposed to having more to do with doctors and 'procedures' so perhaps are inclined to ignore warning symptoms. Many of us are less assertive where our health is concerned than we should be and - particularly in the past - were told 'it's only palpitations, dear'.

    I'm interested in the comment 'Women may respond less well to AF drugs . . .'. I wonder why that should be?

  • I wonder how often GPs play down our issues - perhaps we should all be more assertive when we feel rough. How many of us (male or female) are content when the doc says its nothing to worry about.

  • Many Drs are quick to tell women they are having a panic attack or suffer from anxiety disorder. To all the women on this forum please advocate for yourselves.

  • Have just seen this on BBC News 24. Big references to AF and women's double risk of strokes and death. Doctor saying that women should ask doctors and practice nurses to check their pulses for AF. If only it were that easy to diagnose!!!

  • Women have different physiology than men and a multiple things factor into this truth. One factor is that women in midlife tend to have higher waist circumference which is strongly correlated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease including hypertension and stroke. AF increases stroke risk over and above that, so yes, it is riskier for women.

  • PAF is hard to diagnose at the best of times but harder when it is assumed to be 'your age', hypochondria, stress or a panic attack!

  • I am happy that more attention is being given to AF and that we are being made more aware of the fact that its worse for women than men. we are also now being told that the medication is not as effective. but until we know why this happens what are we suppose to do. Its just another cause for concern.

  • Just been to Doc for something unrelated and he gave me every test poss before i left the surgery including full blood tests as" you have been on a lot of meds " i reckon he had heard this mornings news!

  • I think some doctors "profile" patients. The typical heart attack victim is usually portrayed as an overweight late middle aged smoker. When I was on warfarin, the phlebotomist frequently apologised because she thought she was hurting me with the finger prick test. Although very experienced, she said that it was unusual to be giving this to someone with such small hands as mine.

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