Women are more likely to experience lesser-known symptoms of acute heart attack than men, findings of a new study have found
Women More Likely To Report Associated Symptoms Of Heart Attack
For the study published in the journal Circulation, Judith Lichtman, from Yale School of Public Health (YSPH), and colleagues analyzed the data of about 3,000 men and women who were 55 years old and younger who were hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) or heart attack.
They found that majority of both men and women in the study reported chest pain, tightness, pressure, or discomfort as main symptoms of heart attack.
Women, however, were found to be more likely than men to experience other associated symptoms such as shortness of breath, indigestion, palpitations, or pain in the jaw, arms, or neck.
The researchers also found that women are more likely to perceive the symptoms they have for stress or anxiety.
Doctors Also Miss Detecting The Symptoms
Lichtman and colleagues also found that half of the doctors who see women seeking medical care for their symptoms prior to getting hospitalized do not realize that the symptoms are tied to heart health.
“Women presented with a greater number of additional non-chest pain symptoms regardless of the presence of chest pain, and both women and their healthcare providers were less likely to attribute their prodromal symptoms to heart disease in comparison with men,” Lichtman and colleagues wrote in their study.
Earlier studies have already found that women tend to experience a wider variety of symptoms for heart attack and are more likely to die in a hospital due to a heart attack.
“Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure, ” said Nieca Goldberg, from New York University’s Langone Medical Center.
“They may experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue.”
The researchers of the new study said that their findings and increased mortality linked to AMI in younger women indicate missed opportunity to detect symptoms of heart disease in women.
“When young women with multiple risk factors visit their doctor with any chest discomfort or other symptoms that may be associated with ischemic heart disease, they should have the appropriate work up,” said study researcher Gail D’Onofrio, from Yale School of Medicine.