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Bias and Biology 

How being a woman can put you at a disadvantage if you have a heart attack. Read on to download our Bias and Biology briefing. 

Hero curve mask

Needless deaths

Women are dying needlessly from heart attacks in the UK, or not making as good a recovery as they could, because they don't receive the same care and treatment as men.

We have brought together evidence in a new briefing, 'Bias and Biology', which reveals the scale of the inequality.

Dr Sonya

Decades of research have transformed the likely outcome for someone suffering a heart attack. Yet if you are a woman, the odds are stacked differently.
Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, Associate Medical Director, British Heart Foundation

The briefing shows that: 

  • women having a heart attack delay seeking medical help longer than men because they don't recognise the symptoms
  • a woman is 50% more likely than a man to receive the wrong initial diagnosis for a heart attack 
  • women are less likely than men to receive a number of potentially life saving treatments in a timely way 
  • following a heart attack women are less likely to be prescribed medications to help prevent a second heart attack. 

Simone looking out the window wearing a floral top

Doctors thought my symptoms were due to asthma, stress and anxiety at a time when I was changing jobs. But on holiday I had a heart attack and the very next morning I was sent for heart bypass surgery.
Simone Telford

Read our briefing

Ending these inequalities must start with tackling the misconception that coronary heart disease and heart attack is a man’s disease, so more women take action to understand their risk and recognise the symptoms of a heart attack. 

Read our briefing to find out more about the inequalities women face in awareness, diagnosis, treatment and care following a heart attack.

Download a summary version

Download the full briefing

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