Rosalie Ungar is the author of IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib. This post was first published on November 5, 2017.
Statistics show that 70% of men with atrial fib get treatment. Only 30% of women with atrial fib get treatment. Why is that?
My experience in talking to more than just a few women of various ages either with or without A-Fib or related problems say that they prefer not to know too much. Some do what the doctor says but don’t want to know the details and most don’t ask questions.
My theory is that the younger women are too busy. Some with families don’t feel they can take the time off to get treatment, some may feel invincible because their A-Fib comes and goes. I use to feel that way, mainly because I felt I couldn’t take the time off from work to get treatment. After all, I grew up in an era when options for women were limited. If a woman had a good job and could, if necessary, be replaced by a man, she was fearful that taking time off for a little known health problem could jeopardize her livelihood.
I am perplexed, however, as to why some women in their 70s and older don’t take A-Fib seriously. Many downplay their symptoms.
Men, on the other hand, are often diagnosed at a younger age. It is reported that gender symptoms vary and now treatment may vary between men and women. Could it be that women are the reason? We push men to take better care of themselves, sometimes at the expense of our own care. Wives often make an appointment with the doctor and just tell their husbands, “You have an appointment with the cardiologist and you have to go. I‘m going with you.” Subject closed.
Mother used to say, “Along with age comes aches and pains. Live with them and do what you have to do to feel better.” She was so set on not complaining, she’d say, “No one wants to hear you complain. Handle it.”
That was over 50 years ago. Ok Mom. I’m 80. I feel good. Atrial fibrillation is mostly an easy fix. I did it. Find out how in my memoir, IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups & Downs of Life with Atrial Fib.