Are Heart Attacks in Young Women More Common Than You Think?
Are Heart Attacks in Young Women More Common Than You Think?
For a long time, people considered heart attacks as an old individual’s disease. But heart disease is the primary cause of death for women in the United States of America and kills one in four women. Apart from that, heart attacks have become more common in younger women.
A heart attack may be a fatal incident caused by an interruption in blood flow to the heart. Yet, despite increased awareness over the last decade, only fifty-four percent of women recognize heart disease as their number one killer. As a result, young women, in particular, ignore the early indicators of a heart attack and delay getting potentially life-saving tests.
Women’s symptoms are different from men’s symptoms. It is a general misconception that heart attack symptoms are identical for men and women. A common sign of a heart attack is a squeezing pain in the chest that radiates down one arm. Young women, however, do not always have these symptoms before having a heart attack.
The first symptom in women is frequently quite different from those associated with a heart attack. Women may experience pain in the arm, neck, jaw, or back, nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, lightheadedness or dizziness, unusual tiredness, cold sweats, and difficulty sleeping.
This situation is one of the main reasons they do not rush to the hospital’s emergency room at the first sign of trouble. Instead, they associate their symptoms with other issues, such as heartburn, anxiety, or arthritis, and do not seek help.
Early detection leads to better prevention. Therefore, getting a diagnosis for these early signs of a heart attack will reduce your chances of getting this deadly disease.
Make your heart health your top priority by booking an appointment with us, Modern Heart and Vascular, today.
YOUNG WOMEN AND HEART ATTACKS
New studies show that women may not realize the signs pointing to heart issues, and medical healthcare providers may not realize it either. Research has long shown that women are more predisposed than men to ignore the warning indicators of a heart attack, occasionally waiting hours or more to call 911 or head to the hospital.
Researchers are trying to figure out why women ignore the warning signs, and they found that women often hesitate to seek help because they appear to have more subtle heart attack symptoms than men. Healthcare providers typically downplay their symptoms or delay treatment even when they go to the hospital. Health officials say that these factors contribute to worse outcomes among women and higher rates of death from heart attacks.
Most studies suggest that one of the main reasons women delay seeking medical care, and healthcare providers frequently misdiagnose them, is because of the manifestations they exhibit.
Although chest pain or discomfort is the most frequent indicator of a heart attack in women and men, women who have a heart attack are much less susceptible than men to having chest pain.
Instead, they often have symptoms that may be more difficult to associate with heart issues, such as cold sweats, general malaise, jaw pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, and back pain.
A fact sheet from the American Heart Association determined that heart attacks are more deadly in women who do not have chest pain, in part because it means it took longer for patients and physicians to identify there is that problem.
Nevertheless, when women suspect they may have a heart attack, they still have a more challenging time getting treatment than men. Studies show that physicians are more likely to tell their women patients that their symptoms have no relation to the cardiovascular system.
Unfortunately, in many cases, healthcare providers tell women that all their symptoms are in their heads. Some studies found that many healthcare providers diagnosed women complaining of symptoms compatible with heart disease, including chest pain, with a mental illness compared to men who complained of identical symptoms.
WOMEN HAVE TO WAIT LONGER AND GET SLOWER DIAGNOSIS
In a study presented by the American Heart Association Journal, investigators analyzed data from millions of visits to the ER before the pandemic. They found that women complaining of chest pain had to wait an average of eleven minutes longer to see a doctor or nurse than men complaining of similar symptoms.
Women are less likely to be admitted to the hospital, receive less thorough evaluations, and are less likely to be administered tests such as an electrocardiogram or EKG, which can detect heart problems.
Some female patients had gone to several physicians complaining of jaw pain and were referred to a dentist to extract molars. Some made wise choices and went to see a cardiologist after the jaw pain continued, where cardiologists discovered the problem as something heart-related. Some ended up getting a bypass surgery because heart disease had caused jaw pain.
Over the years, health authorities have sought to confront the gender gap in cardiovascular care through various public service campaigns.
The American Heart Association launched campaigns to raise the consciousness of heart disease and its symptoms and signs among women, as performed by the Women’s Heart Alliance, which began placing ads on social media and thousands of radio and television stations.
Additionally, many ads urge women to “be aware of the signs” of a heart attack, warning that they may be as vague as sweating, dizziness, or unusual fatigue.
Subsequently, a group of scientists released an investigation that delved into the factors that lead women to delay seeking care for their heart problems. They concluded that the absence of chest pain or discomfort was one of the main reasons.
The study, presented by the journal Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, studied two hundred and eighteen men and women treated for heart attacks at four different New York hospitals before the pandemic.
This study made it clear that sixty-two percent of the women had no chest pain or discomfort, compared with only thirty-six percent of the men. However, many women reported shortness of breath and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and indigestion. About a quarter of the men also reported difficulty breathing or gastrointestinal discomfort.
Ultimately, seventy-two percent of women who suffered a heart attack waited more than ninety minutes to go to the hospital or call 911, compared with fifty-four percent of men. In addition, more than half of women called a family member or friend before dialing 911 or going to the hospital, compared with thirty-six percent of men.
HEART DISEASE AND HEART ATTACKS ARE MORE COMMON IN YOUNGER WOMEN THAN WE THINK
Both women and men do not understand that a heart attack does not necessarily cause chest pain or all those movie-like symptoms.
Additionally, there are other reasons for delaying going to the hospital. One of the reasons is that people do not consider them as susceptible to heart disease as men. Previous investigations have shown that they are more inclined to disregard their symptoms as if anxiety or stress were to blame. They are also more likely to develop heart disease at older ages than men.
In those studies, women who suffered heart attacks were, on average, sixty-nine years old, while the average age of men was sixty-one.
Nevertheless, younger women are not immune to heart disease and suffer heart attacks. A recent study revealed that deaths from heart disease and heart attacks increased among women ages thirty-five to fifty-four, partly due to an increase in cardiometabolic risk factors such as obesity and high blood pressure.
First, many young women may not believe they have heart disease or a heart attack because people have never labeled these conditions as young women.
Secondly, the symptoms in younger women are even less typical: not so much pressure feeling in the chest and more indigestion, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, and general malaise, signs that are not very specific. So those symptoms make it challenging to identify it as a problem.
Experts say people need more outreach and education to promote women and men identifying the signs and risk factors for heart disease. So, if you consider something is wrong with your health, do not let a healthcare provider turn you away until you have answers.
If you are not feeling well and believe that, in the realm of possibility, there is a problem with your heart, then you should explain it to the doctor. Tell your doctor that you are worried that you may be undergoing a heart attack and want an EKG to be sure. And, of course, no one in the emergency department will say they cannot do it.
We recommend you describe your symptoms as detailed as possible, leading to a better diagnosis. For example, Hollywood movies of people clutching their chests during a heart attack may be misleading: people frequently experience chest pressure rather than pain. They may also feel unusually tired or breathless.
If now you have to catch your breath going up and down the stairs, it should raise a warning. But don’t wait; contact us at any of our Modern Heart and Vascular clinics now!
It is our priority to support and keep you well during these holidays! Visit one of Modern Heart and Vascular Institute’s locations for high-quality primary care close to home. Call 832-644-8930 to schedule your appointment today.
At Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, we feel honored to respond to crucial questions about cases that could affect your heart, helping you manage, anticipate, and treat all aspects of your cardiovascular condition.
Modern Heart and Vascular Institute intends to provide you with information but not trying to replace the medical guidance of your healthcare provider or physician. Consult your healthcare provider for advice or suggestions on a specific medical condition.
We are Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, a diagnostic and preventative medicine cardiology practice. For more information, contact us.
Every heart has a story… What’s yours?
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Modern Heart and Vascular, a preventive cardiology medical practice, has several offices around Houston. We have locations in Humble, Cleveland, The Woodlands, Katy, and Livingston.
We are Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, a diagnostic and preventative medicine cardiology practice.
Every heart has a story… What’s yours?
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At the Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, we offer state-of-the-art cardiovascular care with innovative diagnostic tools and compassionate patient care. Our priority at Modern Heart and Vascular Institute is prevention. We help patients lead healthier lives by avoiding unnecessary procedures and surgeries.
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This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.