Her Heart Matters: Prevention, Diagnosing, &  Treating HF in Women

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Heart failure (HF) is increasing in incidence globally, 5.7 million Americans live with HF and approximately half of all HF patients are women.  Heart failure affects about 2.5 million women in the United States. There are ~700,000 new cases each year. When women and men with HF are compared, there are significant differences in disease etiology, expression, outcomes, and perhaps, response to therapy.   Additionally, there have been many studies done in recent years that show that HF varies by race/ethnicity.  Many women who develop HF are misdiagnosed early on, especially younger people.  Women say their complaints may also be dismissed as symptoms of menopause, panic attack or stress.  Often, the first symptoms of HF are attributed to overwork, stress and general fatigue, rather than to a serious heart condition.  So early and accurate diagnosis are key.   Depression is frequently associated with heart failure and is more common in women than men. Patient and clinician education is necessary to increase awareness of these differences.