How Women's Heart Attacks Are Different
Heart attacks are different in women than they are in men--a message the American Heart Association wants to emphasize.
For starters, heart attacks are deadlier in women than men. Also, while both sexes may experience chest pain before or during a heart attack, women may be more likely to have unusual symptoms instead, such as shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or neck pain.
That’s the gist of a scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) that hopes to raise awareness about key differences in heart attack indicators and treatment in women. The concern is that women often don't recognize their heart attack symptoms and don't seek medical treatment.
Even though both women and men get heart attacks caused by blockages in the main arteries leading to the heart, the way the clots develop may differ, according to the scientific statement.
Worldwide, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women. Since 1984 in the U.S., heart attack survival has improved for women. But the heart death rates among women still outpace heart deaths in men.
Researchers have stressed that women need to know their numbers -- blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, body mass index (BMI, a ratio of weight to height) and waist circumference.
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