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Women's Health

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Health News for Seniors


Women often have Undiagnosed Heart Disease

Important new research from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's WISE study (for Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation) has shown that women frequently have the pain that is associated with blocked arteries, but that testing-called angiography-reveals no blockage. These women are not treated as being at risk of heart attack.

But the truth for many of these women is that cholesterol is building up in very small arteries of the heart, causing narrowing, reduced oxygen flow to the heart and pain that can be similar to that of people with blocked arteries. But the plaque does not show up when doctors use standard tests.
WISE investigators found that the majority of women with "clear" angiography who are not diagnosed will continue to have symptoms, a declining quality of life and repeated hospitalizations and tests. These women need to get treatment for their condition.
If you have experienced something similar-going to the doctor because of chest pain only to find out that tests do not reveal a problem, it might be time to talk about the WISE study results with you doctor.
Source: Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 31 January 2006

Have You had a Bone Density Screening Lately?

New research shows that women who are most likely to suffer from a hip fracture are least likely to have a bone density test that can show whether they have osteoporosis. The study showed that the older women are, the less likely they are to have the test.

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes your body to break down bone faster than you can replace it. Of women aged 65 to 74, 19 percent have osteoporosis. In the 75 to 84 age group, 32.5 percent have the condition. And about 50 percent of women 85 and older have it.

If you have not had a bone density test, talk with your doctor. The test is covered by Medicare. If results show that osteoporosis is present, there are medications that can slow down its progression.

Journal of the American Geriatric Association, March 2006
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