Women with mild heart disease were thought to be at an increased risk. But a new study has proved this gender-specific risk to be baseless.
According to the study, men and women with mild heart disease share the same risk, at least over the short term.
Dr. Jonathan Leipsic, the lead author suggested that both men and women have the same good chance of avoiding severe heart-related consequences, if they don’t let plaque build-up in their coronary arteries.
"If you have a normal CT scan, you are not likely to have a heart attack or die in the next 2.3 years -- whether you're a man or a woman," said Leipsic, director of medical imaging at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia. "That's an important new finding."
Leipsic said the ability to use a CT scan to diagnose plaque in the coronary arteries enabled researchers to determine that the outcomes are the same for men and women, regardless of what other tests show or what other risk factors patients have.
"Irrespective of sex, controlling the seven major heart health risk factors – smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, inactivity and poor diet - can substantially reduce the risk of the development and progression of coronary artery disease," Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a spokesman for the American Heart Association, said.
The results of the study were presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, in Chicago.
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