Heart attack causes and symptoms 'differ between women and men'

26 January 2016

A new scientific statement from the American Heart Association has drawn attention to key differences in the way heart attacks manifest between men and women.

Published in the medical journal Circulation, the statement noted that women tend to experience less severe arterial blockages, meaning stents are not required. However, the damage to the coronary artery blood vessels is similar, leading to the same result.

Women face greater complications from attempts to restore blood flow because their blood vessels tend to be smaller, while females also tend to be more likely to experience atypical symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea and back or jaw pain.

Additionally, risk factors differ between genders, with high blood pressure being more strongly associated with heart attacks in women. Meanwhile, if a young woman has diabetes, her risk for heart disease is four to five times higher than it would be for a young man.

Dr Laxmi Mehta, director of the women's cardiovascular health programme at Ohio State University, said: "Women should not be afraid to ask questions - we advise all women to have more open and candid discussions with their doctor about both medication and interventional treatments to prevent and treat a heart attack."

Posted by Jeanette Royston

 


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