Feature Article

Women with heart disease: are they overlooked?

Terase Lancefield, Jennifer Johns



Heart disease remains the major killer of women in Australia. Many of these deaths are preventable through risk-factor modification and early detection of the disease.

Key Points

  • It is important to raise public and physician awareness of heart disease in women.
  • Most women in Australia have two or more modifiable cardiovascular risk factors.
  • Women with diabetes are a high-risk group for cardiovascular disease and warrant close follow up.
  • It is important to eliminate gender bias through timely referral, appropriate investigation and application of evidence-based treatments.
  • Women derive a clinical benefit from secondary prevention similar to men but remain undertreated and, ultimately, women with coronary heart disease have a worse prognosis than men.
  • There is a need for increased recruitment of women in clinical trials on cardiovascular disease.