Experts stress, there are key differences between heart attacks in men and women, from causes to symptoms, and they can also be more fatal in women. The American Heart Association hopes to raise awareness of these differences to make women aware of heart attack indicators along with different treatment methods.
If women don’t recognize heart attack signs, medical intervention may be delayed, leading to complications and raising the risk of death.
Cardiovascular disease continues to be the number one killer of women worldwide, and although survival rates have improved over time, cardiovascular deaths still remain higher in women than men.
The statement by the American Heart Association was published in the journal Circulation, and below are some key points:
- Plaque build-up in arteries can differ between genders – women are less likely to undergo stenting to open blocked arteries, but still suffer from blood vessel damage and reduced blood flow.
- High blood pressure is a stronger risk factor for women than men, and diabetes increases women’s risk of heart disease fivefold.
- Guideline-recommended medications are underused in women versus men, and women are less likely to be recommended the cardiac rehabilitation.
- Women are more likely to experience shortness of breath, back or jaw pain, and nausea and vomiting, as opposed to chest pains as an early sign of a heart attack.
- Black women have higher incidences of heart attack compared to white women, and black and Hispanic women generally have more risk factors of heart disease than white women.
The researchers suggest women need to know their numbers – blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, body mass index – in order to take preventative measures to reduce the risk of heart attack.