Heart Attacks For All!

Women’s rights have come a long way in the past several decades. Equality has spread to many aspects of society. Despite men and women being created equal, there are still some things that are different between men and women that are important to recognize though… one of them is heart attacks.

Did you know research shows women often wait longer than men to present to medical care when having a heart attack? How about that women are more likely to have symptoms that aren’t recognized as a heart attack as quickly as men?

Studies have shown that women think they’re much less likely than their male counterparts to have ischemic heart disease – heart disease resulting from blockages of the coronary arteries that can lead to heart attacks. While it does happen at an older age on average, women are certainly not missing out on this.

Women also are less likely to have that classic left-sided chest pain that men have when they’re having a heart attack. In fact, a large study showed they’re about 40% less likely to present with chest pain than men. Instead, they more likely have symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, or acid-reflux type symptoms.

Whether because of this preconceived notion or not, research has shown that there are more delays in treating women than men when it comes to ischemic heart disease.

If a heart attack is a heart attack, then why does this happen? Well, even experts in this topic don’t fully know yet, but it probably has to do with differences in how women develop blockages. Different than men, women probably are more likely to develop disease in the very small blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle rather than men, who typically develop disease in the large blood vessels of the heart. Perhaps this is one contributor to the difference in symptoms and the delays in receiving proper treatment.

We may not have all the answers for this, but for all the ladies out there, it’s important to know these facts. While gender equality and science have come a long way and both men and women are entitled to have heart attacks, everyone should be aware that men and women may be different here. After all, knowledge is power and that power may help save lives here.

If you have questions about your heart, ask us here! We’re here for you to make sure your ticker keeps ticking.

Published by: Mark P. Abrams, MD

I'm an Internist, Educator, and Cardiology fellow in training. As the Director of Patient Engagement at Heartbeat Health, my goal is to make trustworthy information easily accessible and more available so that people can become more active members of their healthcare teams. By joining together, we can work toward keeping more people healthier, happier, and living longer fulfilling lives.

Categories Women's HealthLeave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s