Women Are Dying Because Doctors Think They Look 'Healthy'


In a study of more than 15,000 people, researchers at Heart Institute-Pitie Salpetriere Hospital in Paris found that many doctors are missing crucial signs of heart problems in women because many of those at risk were “well-groomed” and “looked healthy”. I guess us ladies should put on a fat suit and roll around in the pond scum and couch Cheetos if we want doctors to be concerned about our health? Oh wait, that doesn’t work either.

In addition to the fact that ladies are half (HALF!) as likely as men to be treated for one of the leading causes of heart problems, there’s also the added bonus of doctors and specialists being “slow to diagnose the most common form of abnormal cardiac rhythm in women, increasing their risk of stroke and death.”

As reported in The Telegraph:

Dr Pierre Sabouret, lead researcher and cardiologist from Heart Institute-Pitie Salpetriere Hospital in Paris, said he believed many doctors did not realise how common the condition was among women, and failed to carry out tests to establish the likelihood of a problem.
He said: “I think doctors – GPs and cardiologists – often do not realise the risk for women. Too often they will think if a female patient looks healthy, and dresses smartly, and looks after herself, she is probably okay.

The condition he’s talking about is called atrial fibrillation, and it’s one of the leading causes of strokes. The study found that “women below the age of 70 were 56 percent less likely to be treated for the condition, compared with men with the same risk profile.”

The study found that the gap on male vs. female treatment narrowed slightly when people got over age 70, but women were still one third less likely to be treated for the condition.

Dr Sabouret said said “The guidance is there, the problem is that doctors are not following it,” and that the failure to give women the right treatment resulted in thousands of premature deaths in the United Kingdom. Not good.

I’d hazard a guess that one of the big ways doctors determine health by looking them up and down, which is one of the many reasons it’s shitty to focus health conversations on making fat people less fat as opposed to making all people more healthy. After all, my skinny sister survives almost exclusively on Trader Joe’s meatless nuggets and butter-pasta (50 percent butter, 50 percent pasta), but no doctor has ever ordered a myriad of tests for her, even when she could’ve used them. I’m a vegan who’s devoted to yoga and getting my 5-alive every day (you don’t want to see me without my green juice!), and because I’m fat, I’ve gone through countless “health” screenings. It’s crap, no matter which end of the scale you’re on.

Here’s hoping doctors will start treating risks and symptoms, and not their socio-economic status or number on a scale. (And do something about those gowns while you’re at it. Ain’t no one looking healthy in those.)


Shutterstock/Syda Productions

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