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Study Finds Sex-Specific Differences in Heart

A study conducted by Dr. Kirkwood Adams Jr. and colleagues at the University of North Carolina reveals “fundamental gender- [sic] related differences in the nature and extent of heart failure.”

Researchers studied data on patients with congestive heart failure, a common disease in which the heart looses its ability to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. They found that men with ischemic heart disease 1.5 times more likely to die within 18 months of diagnosis as were their female counterparts. Men with nonischemic heart disease were three times more likely than women to die within that same time frame. Ischemic heart disease is caused by clogged blood vessels, while nonischemic heart disease is caused by high blood pressure and other heart-damaging factors.

Published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, the study suggests that differences in how men and women’s heart muscles respond to high blood pressure and other heart-damaging symptoms may be the source of women’s survival advantage.

Study authors advised other researchers to replicate the current study on a larger scale to test the recent findings.

Sources:

AP - April 13, 1999