Do Women Do Worse Than Men After A Heart Attack
Yes. In all age groups, women do worse than men after a heart attack. Researchers are not sure why this is, especially for younger women.
- Women between 45 and 65 who have a heart attack are more likely than men of the same age to die within a year of a heart attack.4 However, heart attack is less common in younger women than in younger men. This is partly because the hormone estrogen protects against heart disease in younger women.
- Women older than 65 are more likely than men of the same age to die within a few weeks of a heart attack.4 Women usually have heart attacks about 10 years later than men. The average age of a first heart attack for men is 64, but it is 72 for women.
Many women who have had a heart attack go on to lead full, active lives. Know the symptoms of a heart attack and what to do if you have any symptoms. Take steps to recover after a heart attack and prevent another heart attack.
One Patients Success Story
Carol, 59 years young, had a history of high cholesterol, high blood sugar and low hormones from menopause. We discussed lifestyle medicine and optimized her nutrition plan, adding more phytonutrient dense foods, veggies and decreased sugar. She started working with a personal trainer twice weekly and lost body fat. We rechecked many of the labs discussed above. Her cholesterol decreased and we were able to taper off her statin medication. After a few months, we decreased her metformin. Currently she is completely off both of these medications!She was determined and motivated to decrease her cardiovascular risk and she did it!Carol is delighted that she does not have to take extra medications and that her lifestyle is optimizing her health. We used the concept of epigenetics and nutrigenomics to optimize her heart health.
Pregnancy And Heart Attacks
Heart attacks are not common among pregnant women, but they are possible both during and soon after delivery. Normal changes to your body during pregnancy can raise your risk of a heart attack. Your age, lifestyle habits, and other health conditions, such as bleeding disorders, obesity, preeclampsia , and diabetes, can also raise your risk.
If you already have coronary artery disease, being pregnant can raise your risk of a heart attack. Coronary artery disease is a major cause of heart attacks during pregnancy. Ask your doctor whether it is safe for you to get pregnant and what steps you need to take to keep your heart healthy during your pregnancy.
Heart attacks caused by spontaneous coronary artery dissection , a coronary artery embolus, or a coronary artery spasm are more common in pregnant women than in people who are not pregnant.
If you have symptoms of a heart attack during your pregnancy, or at any time, . Your healthcare team will take steps to protect your baby during these tests. Your healthcare team will also make sure that any treatment you take for a heart attack is safe to use during pregnancy.
Watch one womans story about surviving a heart attack soon after delivery.
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Heart Attack Risk Factors For Women
There are several factors that increase your chance of developing heartdisease. Almost 50% of all Americans have at least one of three major riskfactors for the condition:
- High blood pressure: Women can develop high blood pressure as a side effect of birth control pills or during pregnancy. All women over 65 are more likely than men are to have high blood pressure.
- High cholesterol: Estrogen seems to protect women against unhealthy levels of cholesterol. But after menopause, estrogen levels drop and high cholesterol becomes more likely.
- Smoking: Although men are slightly more likely to smoke, the gap in cigarette usage between genders is smaller than ever and women are less likely to be able to quit successfully.
Additional risk factors include:
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What To Do If You Notice Heart Attack Symptoms
If you do suspect you might have heart attack symptoms and some do appear weeks or months before a heart attack dont discount them out of hand or let them linger for too long. Women often think its something else, says Dr. Cho. The sad thing is, women do tend to have more blockages in their heart when they do need to have something done.
In fact, women tend to get heart disease later than men do. Men get in their 50s and 60s, and women get it in their 60s and 70s, says Dr. Cho. Women always get it 10 years later because of the effect of estrogen.The sooner you report a problem, the better chance you have of catching an issue before it becomes a full-blown heart attack. If you experience any of these symptoms, take note and visit your doctor as quickly as possible. Its very important that you not become your own doctor but let somebody else be your doctor, Dr. Cho says.
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Symptoms Of Heart Attack And Stroke In Women
Women are less likely than men to experience the classic symptoms of a heart attack. Women often have more subtle symptoms, labeled as atypical , although these symptoms may be very typical in women.
Not everyone experiencing angina or a heart attack will have all of the warning signs of heart attack. The most important thing is to recognize symptoms as a possible heart attack. Getting help early can prevent lasting heart damage.
Symptoms of a heart attack include the following:
- Chest pain is the most common symptom preceding a heart attack in women. Women often describe this chest pain as a pressure, tightness or achiness in the center of the chest. Because chest pain experienced by women is often less severe than what is described by men, you should take it seriously even when your chest pain seems mild.
- Pain or discomfort lasting longer than 20 minutes in other areas of the upper body, including the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath, even without chest pain.
- Breaking out in a cold sweat or feeling faint or woozy.
- Fast heartbeat .
- Indigestion, loss of appetite or nausea.
Symptoms of a stroke include:
- Sudden weakness or numbness of face or limbs on one side
- Sudden severe headache
- Difficulty talking or understanding speech
- Unexplained dizziness
- Sudden diminished vision or loss of vision in one eye
Signs And Symptoms Of A Heart Attack In Women
Heart attack symptoms can vary from person to person but the most common signs of a heart attack are:
- chest pain or discomfort in your chest that suddenly occurs and doesn’t go away. It may feel like pressure, tightness or squeezing
- the pain may spread to your left or right arm or may spread to your neck, jaw, back or stomach
- you may also feel sick, sweaty, light-headed or short of breath.
Other less common symptoms include:
- a sudden feeling of anxiety that can feel similar to a panic attack
- excessive coughing or wheezing
If you think you’re having a heart attack, call 999 for an ambulance immediately.
Women may be less likely to seek medical attention and treatment quickly, despite the warning signs. This can dramatically reduce your chance of survival. Rapid treatment is essential, and the aim is to restore blood flow to the affected part of the heart muscle as soon as possible. This helps to limit the amount of damage to the heart.
- Learn more about heart attack symptoms.
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Heart Attack Symptoms In Men Vs Women
All heart attacks are not created equally, and that is especially true when it comes to the difference in symptoms between men and women. Knowing how to identify heart attack symptoms is critical to getting treatment quicker and saving valuable heart muscle. Dr. Tara Jarreau of Louisiana Cardiology Associates offers the following advice on recognizing heart attack symptoms.
Studies have shown there is a distinct disparity between men and women when it comes to the heart. For example, women have smaller hearts and smaller arteries than men do. This could be why the symptoms of a heart attack are different for women than men.
Common symptoms of a heart attack for both men and women include:
- Chest pain. For men, it can feel like uncomfortable pressure or squeezing of the chest. For women, the pain could be radiating or non-radiating. Research shows that almost half of women said they did not experience chest pain at anytime during a heart attack.
- Jaw or shoulder pain
- Weakness and shortness of breath
Unique symptoms for women include:
- Fatigue, often the first and most unrecognized symptom
- Back pain between the shoulder blades
- Unique symptoms for men include:
- Pain in one or both arms
- Back or stomach pain
- Abdominal discomfort that may feel like indigestion
Tips for Prevention
Symptoms Can Last For Days
Since many symptoms of a heart attack in women dont include chest pain, theyre often overlooked. Unusual fatigue, nausea, weakness, and other signs may be mistaken for illnesses such as the flu.
Vague symptoms make heart attack harder to identify, but women are also more likely to dismiss or minimize their symptoms in comparison to men. In fact, one study found that women waited 54 hours to seek treatment for heart attack symptoms, compared to men who waited just 16 hours.
If you think you or a loved one is suffering a heart attack, call 911 immediately. Follow the operators instructions and try to take slow, deep breaths until help arrives. Seeking treatment as early as possible increases your chances of a full recovery.
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Symptoms Of Stroke In Women
Strokes are not as common as heart attacks, but can come on without warning. Here are signs that a stroke may be occurring:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
Its worth noting that in some women symptoms of heart problems, like palpitations, chills or faintness, may actually be symptoms of perimenopause. However, if you are experiencing these symptoms, you should see your healthcare practitioner.
Risk Factors For Heart Attack In Women
In addition to knowing key heart attack symptoms, its also important to know if you have risk factors for heart disease. Many women arent aware that theyre at risk for heart attack, explains Dr. Lee. So when they start having symptoms, they dont even consider that its a warning sign.
Common risk factors for women include:
- Certain medical conditions. Women are at higher risk for heart disease if they have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or an inflammatory disease like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
- Pregnancy complications. Women who had pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, or preeclampsia are at higher risk for a heart attack later in life.
- Smoking. Research shows that smoking can increase the risk of heart attack for young people.3 And female smokers are 25% more likely to have heart disease than male smokers.3
- Lifestyle choices. Poor diet, overuse of alcohol, and physical inactivity all increase a womans risk for heart attack.
- Menopause. Lower levels of estrogen after menopause can increase the risk of heart attack for women.
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Blood Test Will Get The Inside Condition
To know the condition inside the heart, you should get some special blood tests done. From the damage to muscles to cholesterol and sugar etc. everything will be known through a blood test. Excess or deficiency of sodium, cholesterol, triglycerides, vitamins, minerals, etc. in the body can be easily known by a blood test. Along with cholesterol, vitamin D, and B, sugar should also be checked.
Preventing Heart Disease In Women
With any health condition, there are steps that can be taken to prevent heart disease from occurring. Prevention is much better than cure, and through early diagnosis many womens lives can be saved.
It is important to pay attention to your heart health throughout your life and make lifestyle changes and healthy habits that will ensure your heart is strong and healthy. The first step is understanding which risk factors may impact you throughout your life. Other heart health strategies include:
- Managing pre-existing conditions like diabetes
- Eating a healthy balanced diet
- Exercising regularly
- Managing and reducing stress
Womens experience of various disease is different because womens symptoms are often milder, they can arise later in the illness, and they can be unusual. Because heart disease in women often goes undetected, the damage caused can be more advanced and outcomes can be poorer than for men.
Some tests used to diagnose heart disease are also less accurate in women than they are in men. Women may experience a heart attack with no symptoms of chest pain. They may experience nausea or vomiting, which are oftentimes confused with acid reflux or the flu.
The Cullinan Assessment was created by Echelon Health with women in mind, built from the ground up to address this difference in experience.
- CT Bone Density
- Full Body Mole Check
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What Is A Heart Attack
Heart diseases are among the top causes of female deaths in the US.
But exactly what is a heart attack?
You already know we have a network of arteries and veins spread throughout the body. Arteries take blood from the heart to the organs and muscles while veins bring the blood back to the heart.
Similarly, your heart also has a mesh of arteries. The blood pumps through these vessels, keeping your heart alive and working.
But sometimes, the heart arteries become blocked and unable to allow proper blood flow. This may happen because of fat deposits, plaque development, or a blood clot in the blood vessels.
Naturally, the blood circulation within the heart muscles stops, killing the tissue. This leads to a heart attack or myocardial infarction .
When To Call 911
If you suspect that you or someone else might be having a heart attack, call 911 or local emergency services right away. Immediate treatment can be lifesaving.
Long-term follow-up care is also important to improve outcomes.
Heart attack causes damage to your heart muscle, which can lead to potentially life threatening complications. Although more research is needed, some complications appear to be more common in women than men.
According to a 2016 review from the AHA, women are more likely than men to develop symptoms of heart failure following a heart attack. They also have a higher risk of death in the months and years following a heart attack.
The review found that 26 percent of women and 19 percent of men die within 1 year following a first heart attack, and 47 percent of women and 36 percent of men die within 5 years.
Some for these gender differences include:
- There may be a delay in recognizing womens symptoms.
- Women may be undertreated.
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Heart Attack Symptoms Go Beyond Chest Pain
Portrayals in movies and TV shows often make heart attacks look like sudden, crushing chest pain. While chest discomfort, pressure, or pain are common symptoms of heart attack, they arent the only ones.
Women are more likely than men to have more subtle heart attack symptoms that may be unrelated to the chest. You could be having a heart attack if you experience pain in your:
Symptoms can be vague, and many women brush them off because theyre not widely known as signs of a heart attack. Learning to recognize the more subtle symptoms can help you identify a cardiac event sooner before permanent damage occurs.
Symptoms Of A Heart Attack In Women
Both women and men who have a heart attack often have chest pain. However, in addition to chest pain, women are more likely to have these symptoms:
- Pain in the shoulder, back, or arm
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms can happen together with chest pain or without any chest pain.
Many women may not recognize that these are symptoms of a heart attack. Women may not get emergency treatment right away if they downplay their symptoms and delay going to the hospital, or if the usual initial screening tests performed at the hospital may not detect an early or atypical heart attack. Because of this, women have a higher risk of serious health problems after a heart attack.
It is important to if you have these symptoms. Early treatment can limit damage to your heart and can save your life.
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Symptoms Vary Between Men And Women
As with men, womens most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
Heart Attacks In Women
At least two Kiwi women die from a heart attack everyday. Do you know the risks and the warning signs? And are womens heart attack symptoms different to those experienced by men?
Heart attacks are often perceived to be a mans problem, but currently more than 900 Kiwi women die from one each year. Thats more than two Kiwi women a day losing their life to a heart attack. Heart disease more generally remains the single biggest killer of New Zealand women. There are currently more than 65,000 New Zealand women living with heart disease.
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