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Study: WI Women Need to Know about Heart Attack "Gender Gap"

December 15, 2008

Madison, WI - A new American Heart Association study shows women are more likely to die than men when they suffer a certain type of heart attack. These severe attacks are caused by an abnormal heart rhythm, and kill woman at a rate 12 percent higher than men.

University of Wisconsin cardiologist Dr. Karen Moncher says it's important that health care professionals be aware of the research.

"Chromosomal sets have an impact, both in social and biological sciences, and it's something we're just continuing to learn about."

Moncher says she teaches her students to ask themselves a very important question when a woman presents with heart symptoms.

"Always think, if this were a man in front of me, would I be treating him differently? Invariably, the answer is 'yes.'"

The best thing women can do to avoid heart problems, says Moncher, is to stop, or never start, smoking.

"The prevalence for smoking in women has actually increased. You see that if you just pass a high school; a lot of the people outside smoking are women."

Other studies proving a gender gap with heart disease are controversial. Some have suggested women are not treated as promptly as men, while others say women die at a higher rate because they develop heart disease at a more advanced age.

For the study details, visit .

Glen Gardner/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - WI