Why Heart Attacks Are Difficult To Spot In Women

When taking into account the fact that heart attacks are the number one death cause in women, it becomes all the more important to find prevention strategies that work. For that reason, scientists took a closer look at how heart attacks manifest in women and men and came to the conclusion that there’s a significant difference in the symptoms. The study argues that the reason heart attacks are difficult to spot in women is the lack of warning signs.

Today, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that revealed there’s a big difference in how women and men present the symptoms of heart attack. First of all, according to the study’s conclusions it is harder to identify the warning signs of a heart attack in women. Secondly, when a woman experiences some of the symptoms, heart attack is the last thing she has in mind.

The study took a thorough look at about 1 million heart attack hospitalizations recorded during 12 years, from 1994 to 2006. The findings showed that about 16 percent of women under 65 that experienced a heart attack but didn’t present chest pain died on the hospital bed. In comparison, only 12.5 percent of men under 65 had the same ending. Over age 65, the differences disappeared.

Study author Dr. John G. Canto, cardiologist at the Watson Clinic and Lakeland Regional Medical Center in Lakeland Florida, explained: “As presented in the media, chest pain is the hallmark symptom of heart attack. But many women, when compared with men, don’t present to the hospital with chest pain”.

Although the recommendations are that women who experience heart attack symptoms should call 911. As the American Heart Association points out, almost 80 percent of cardiac event in women are preventable with the right diet, exercise and no smoking.

Also, getting to know more about the heart attack symptoms is definitely helpful. Dr. Canto added that “young women may not be recognizing that they are having a heart attack because they are not supposed to have them”.

Common heart attack symptoms include chest pain, upper body discomfort, shortness of breath, nausea or dizziness.

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