The organism often gives signals that can indicate the onset of heart health problems. However, new research shows that cultural preconceptions about gender play a role in whether those signals are correctly interpreted. Symptoms that would gain a complete set of tests in a male patient are ignored when a woman is concerned. The fact that gender prejudice plays a role in women’s diagnosis indicates that they may have worst quality of life outcomes.
The study linking Atrial Fibrillation (AF) with higher chances of heart disease comes from UBC Okanagan. The study included 26 participants (13 women and 13 men). The data was analysed using a two-step approach to thematic analysis. Also, the study’s main aim is to examine the gender differences in the pre-diagnostic period for AF.
Dr Ryan Wilson, one of the authors of the study, explains her motives for doing the research.
“I would see so many patients in the ED who had just suffered a stroke but they had never been diagnosed with AF. I wanted to get a sense of their experience before diagnoses: what did they do before they were diagnosed, how they made their decisions, how they perceived their symptoms and ultimately, how they responded.”
Women’s Heart Health and Prejudice
The findings show that 77% (10) of women participants in the study had difficulties getting an AF diagnosis. On the other hand, only 23% (3) of men had the same issues before getting their diagnosis. Furthermore, women reported more severe symptoms and a lack of knowledge concerning AF. Also, they perceived themselves as low risk for heart disease.