A new study of over one million patients has been released showing women are less likely to get immediate treatment for a heart attack. The study of the Journal of the American Medical Association was authored by John Canto of the Watson Clinic and Lakeland Regional Medical Center in Florida. This study also revealed that women are more likely to die in the hospital from a heart attack than men with rates of 15 percent of women and 10 percent of men.
Some of the treatments available that can stop a heart attack if quickly detected include balloon insertions to open the arteries, bypass surgery or even drugs that dissolve clots. The reason for these staggering statistics is that female patients very often do not recognize the symptoms they experience when having a heart attack. While about 31 percent of men never experience the classic symptoms of a heart attack like chest pain or pressure, that number is increased to 42 percent for women. The lack of classic symptoms is even more common in women under the age of 55. Many women go to the hospital with symptoms like nausea, feelings of fatigue, back or jaw pain, vomiting or even sweating and are misdiagnosed and sent home when they are actually having a heart attack.
Not having the proper diagnosis is proving to lead to a delay in treatment, and in some cases death, where women and heart attacks are concerned. The American Heart Association has been attempting to educate women and doctors about the types of symptoms many women experience when having a heart attack for years, but this study shows there is still so much work to do.
Although only 20 percent of people who think they are experiencing a heart attack are actually having one, it is important not to downplay what you are feeling. Women and men should pay attention to health signs and if something doesn’t feel right, get it checked out. Listen to your body and educate yourself on all possible symptoms of a heart attack. Get to know your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. If these numbers aren’t where they should be, work to get them into a healthy range. Above all, listen to your body and don’t ignore any potential symptoms.
February 25th, 2012