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Dec 28, 2008

Women often suffer different heart attack symptoms than men and wait longer than men to go to the hospital. And once they’re there, they often don’t get the same level of care as men.

More work needs to be done to educate women about warning signs and to educate doctors to aggressively diagnose women when they go to hospitals with symptoms.

Too often, women don’t act quickly enough to get to a hospital, and they downplay warning signs.

According to the American Heart Association, women should know that:

  • Heart disease is the No. 1 killer among women, more than deaths from breast cancer and lung cancer combined.
  • 38 percent of women compared with 25 percent of men will die within one year after a heart attack.
  • A heart association study of more than 1,000 women showed the lack of understanding women have of the dangers of heart disease and stroke. In the study, only 13 percent of women believe heart disease and stroke are the greatest health threat to women.

Important facts women should know about heart disease:

  • As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women often experience some of the other common symptoms, such as persistent shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Women also may experience fatigue, indigestion and abdominal discomfort.
  • High blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes are common causes of heart disease. Other factors that increase a woman’s risk include smoking, obesity, oral contraceptive use after age 35, and an endocrine disorder known as polycystic ovarian syndrome.
  • Heart disease risk increases with age, but it can occur any time. Typically, though, it occurs 10 years later in women than men, after menopause. Women’s natural production of estrogen prior to menopause protects them against heart disease. As the hormone wanes after menopause, they lose that natural protection. It is no longer thought that supplemental hormone provides women the same benefits against heart disease.
  • Diagnosis of heart disease presents a greater challenge in women than in men. Women’s hearts are different than men’s. Women’s heart muscles, as well as the vessels supplying it, tend to be smaller. Therefore, blockages in smaller arteries don’t always show up on tests.

If you or someone you’re with has chest discomfort, especially with one or more of the other signs, don’t wait longer than a few minutes before calling for help. Call 911. Get to a hospital right away.

Information from HealthyInsights.com

Healing Care Resources: http://www.pathintohealing.com/

 

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Posted: Dec 28, 2008 11:58am

 

 
 
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Sam Oliver
, 2, 2 children
Derry, NH, USA
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