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The Best Care for Women's Hearts

American Heart Association Meeting Focuses on Heart Disease in Women

Women's Chest Pain Treatments Getting Better

Women waiting longer to call a doctor is only part of the problem. In the past, women who saw a doctor for chest pain got much worse care than men treated for chest pain.

Things seem to be changing -- but women still lag behind, reports Shu-fen Wung, PhD, a nursing professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Wung studied 102 men and 29 women discharged from two hospitals after having heart-related chest pain. Women were prescribed medicines to treat heart disease, such as aspirin and beta-blockers, just as often as men -- and were significantly more likely to get highly effective new cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

But women's heart treatment is still not optimal. Nearly one in five women did not get any prescription at all, Wung found.

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Unemployed Women Face Higher Heart Disease Risk

It's a bad idea to wait until you get chest pain -- or worse -- before you cut down on your risk of heart disease. But now women have one less risk factor to worry about: their job.

A CDC study suggests that working women have less heart disease than women who work only in the home.

Sheree Marshall-Williams, PhD, led the study of more than 34,800 U.S. women aged 25 to 64.

Homemakers' health was much like that of employed women -- except for heart disease.

Heart disease was 1.7 times higher among homemakers compared with employed women, Marshall-Williams reports. "It may be that employed women have more access in the workplace to health intervention such as screening for high blood pressure and stress-reduction programs. That may be one protective factor for women."

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When Marriage Hurts a Heart

A good job helps your health -- and so does a good relationship. A 10-year study of 3,000 men and women aged 18 to 77 shows that stressful marriages endanger women's hearts.

Lead researcher Elaine Eaker, ScD, of Wisconsin-based Eaker Epidemiology Enterprises reports that the women at highest risk of bad health were those who hushed up when conflicts arose with their spouse. They said they usually or always silenced themselves in such situations.

Those women might have thought they were keeping the peace, but they paid dearly for it. Women who kept mum in marital conflicts had four times the risk of dying during the study compared with women who spoke their minds.

For the full story, click here.

Meditation May Cut Future Heart Disease Risks

Not every kind of silence is harmful. Peaceful meditation is good for your health -- even if you are a teenager, find Frank Treiber, PhD, and colleagues at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.

The study looked at 36 black 16-year-olds with high blood pressure -- putting them at high risk of future heart disease. Half of the girls were taught transcendental meditation, and half received standard health education.

After four months, the meditation group had "improved significantly" its blood vessel function compared with the group which received health education only, say the researchers. Abnormal blood vessel function is an early sign of possible bad things to come for the heart.

For the full story, click here.


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