What Women Now Need to Know About Heart Attacks

By Emily Murray

While  we can take good care of our bodies, watch what we eat and exercise regularly, heart attacks and heart disease are still risks we face as we age. The more we learn however, the more we can help defend against these type of health issues but we have yet to discover a way to knock them out altogether. For now, many researchers have been studying the slight differences men and women exhibit prior to and after having a heart attack. This is especially important since we now know that women are actually at a higher risk of death from heart attack.

Recently, Dr. John Canto, the director of the chest pain center and Lakeland Regional Medical Center, and his team have analyzed  mass quantities of data and have discovered that women actually less likely to get treatment which would help derail a heart attack. This seems to go against what most of us believe to be true. In general, women are more likely to go to the doctor for routine checkups, but perhaps this has to do with the fact that women actually report less pain and pressure after experiencing a heart attack than men. For this reason, the tend to arrive at the hospital later into the damage that is being done to their bodies and as a result they tend to survive heart attacks less often than men.

Another aspect of the research also reached deeper to see if not only gender but also age had any impact on the symptoms. What they concluded is that women younger than 55 are more likely to have these nearly chest-pain free heart attack symptoms than women who were older or men of the same age.

In the data they reviewed, 15% of women died in the hospital after their heart attack compared to 10% of the men.

This information can hopefully be used to make women more aware of what their own symptoms may be so that they can seek medical help faster. Since chest pain may be absent in some cases, younger women may experience pain in their jaw, neck, shoulders, back and stomach. This is not only important for patients to understand, but also for doctors as well. Without the classic symptoms we associate with a heart attack present, a misdiagnosis is always a frightening possibility.

Anytime you feel that something isn’t right with your body, no matter your age or gender, it’s wise to head to the doctor right away so that you can find and treat the problem.