In 2019, vascular surgeons from the School of Medicine and Sciences Jacobs Biomedics at the University of Buffalo organized the first Women's Vascular Encounter, with participants from across the country. The objective was to launch a discussion between the doctors about how vascular disease, which is a disease of the blood vessels, along with the arteries and veins, can be different in women and men.

The research turned into a book called "Vascular Disease in Women: An Overview of Literature and Treatment Recommendations" and was edited by Linda M. Harris, professor of surgery at the Jacobs School and director of the residency program in vascular surgery of the UB.

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The purpose of the book is to better educate professionals in health about differences in the presentation and outcomes of vascular disease in women, and also to highlight issues that will help make diagnosis and appropriate treatment more likely.

"I want doctors to start thinking about vascular disease in women, to understand that many women have vascular disease, but their presentation will not be a textbook," said Harris, a vascular surgeon with UBMD surgery. 

According to Harris, it is important that "they know that if a woman has symptoms, they should consider getting some tests done because their presentation will simply not be classic, as textbook symptoms tend to be based on presentation in men."

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For example, among the topics that the book explores the fact that a woman who has a stroke may have different symptoms than a man.

“It might not be weakness in an arm or leg as it might be in a man, but it might present differently at first, like a sudden memory problem, and the doctor might not be expecting that,” Harris explained.

Also, according to Harris, women sometimes develop vascular disease later than men normally, so they are more frail, which also affects their symptoms. She said doctors also need to know that women can have aneurysms in different parts of the body than men so they can make those diagnoses more immediately. 

 "Women who smoke or have a family history of aneurysms should be considered for screening, according to the Society for Vascular Surgery recommendations, which was not normally done because vascular disease was incorrectly seen as less common in women."

Finally, the book discusses how issues of race and culture, such as unconscious prejudice, play a role in affecting how vascular disease in women manifests and is diagnosed.

Source: Medical Xpress

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