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Women and Heart Attacks









http://www.darrellbaudoin.com/women-and-heart-attacks/


 

Fiction 

Women aren’t as susceptible to heart disease as men.


Fact 

Heart disease is rare in women under 50, due to the protective effects of female hormones. However after menopause, the risk of a heart attack for a woman quickly equals that of a man with the same risk factors.

More women die of a heart attack every year than do men.

Heart disease kills twice as many women as all forms of cancer combined.

With the loss of the protective effects of estrogen, good cholesterol decreases and the bad cholesterol increases. Both increase the risk of a heart attack.



Fiction

Men with heart disease have a worse prognosis than women.


Fact

The opposite is true. Once a women has a heart attack, her risk of dying is greater.

The reason is that heart attacks develop 10 to 20 years later in women than in men. Because they are older, women are more likely to have other problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or a stroke which can make a heart attack more complicated.




Image source: AstraZeneca


 
Fiction

Chest pain is chest pain, whether you’re a man or a woman.

Fact

Men more often will experience typical heart attack symptoms such as sub-sternal chest pain that radiates down the left arm.

Many women describe a heaviness in the shoulders, jaw, neck, back, throat, or teeth, and not in the chest. Nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath are also common presenting symptoms. Women may experience intermittent pain or no pain up to 25 percent of the time.

Fiction

Standard diagnostic tests are equally reliable for both men and women.

Fact

Standard treadmill stress testing with EKG monitoring alone is less accurate in women. The rate of both false positive and false negative tests are higher in women than in men. A false positive test says a blocked artery is present when in reality it is not. A false negative result says no blocked arteries are present when indeed they really are.

In women, diagnostic testing with imaging, such as echocardiogram or nuclear scanning, is far more accurate.

Fiction

Equal care for equal disease.

Fact

Women are likely to get less aggressive care than men despite the fact that they have higher mortality and mortality with heart attacks.

The are less likely to undergo cardiac catheterization, bypass surgery, or angioplasty.


Fiction

Women do as well as men after bypass surgery.

Fact

Death rates from heart attacks are higher for women due to a number of factors. Women usually get surgery at a more advanced age. Because of their increased risk factors, their preoperative health condition is often worse. They tend to have more postoperative complications and have more hospital readmissions. Many times they have less relief from angina after surgery.