Female Patients Endure Lower Quality of Life. (Heart Disease)

USA TODAY, February 2003 | Go to article overview

Female Patients Endure Lower Quality of Life. (Heart Disease)


Heart disease takes a greater toll on quality of life in women than it does in men, suggests research from Ohio State University, Columbus. A study of 536 patients with a variety of heart problems showed that women reported poorer physical and psychological functioning than did men immediately after hospital treatment and for the next year.

Social support may be one key as to why women do more poorly, especially in their psychological functioning, maintains Charles Emery, associate professor of psychology. "For women, lower quality of life was associated with feeling they didn't have enough support from friends and family. But levels of social support did not influence psychological functioning among men."

Emery and his colleagues studied patients with heart problems who were admitted to Ohio State University Medical Center during a 14-month period. The average age of the patients was 59 1/2 years and 35% were women. While most cardiac studies include only patients following heart attacks or bypass surgery, this one included individuals with any heart-related diagnoses, including congestive heart failure, valve surgery, unstable angina, dysrhythmia, and transplant surgery.

After being admitted to the hospital, participants filled out a standard questionnaire that measured physical and psychological functioning. They were asked about their physical well-being, such as how well they could perform everyday tasks like climbing stairs, bathing, and dressing. They also were asked about their mental quality of life--whether they felt full of energy or were tired all the time, whether they were nervous or depressed, and whether they had difficulties at work or other daily activities because of emotional issues. …

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