SMART LIVING: Women and heart disease

Every 34 seconds, someone dies from heart disease in the U.S. That’s about 700,000 deaths a year. But is it only men who must worry about heart issues?
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 2:47 PM CDT
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ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - World Heart Day is September 29th and this year’s theme is “cardiovascular health for everyone.”

Every 34 seconds, someone dies from heart disease in the U.S. That’s about 700,000 deaths a year. But is it only men who must worry about heart issues? In fact, heart disease is the number one leading cause of death in women, responsible for one in five female deaths.

Are women more likely to survive if they have a heart attack? Forty-two percent of women who have heart attacks pass away within one year compared to only 24% of male heart attack survivors. And for people under 50, heart attacks are twice as fatal in women than in men.

Are signs of a heart attack always easy to spot in women?

“I had a patient who had a toothache that turned out to be her symptom for having a heart attack,” says Dr. Annabelle Santos Volgman, a cardiologist at Rush University Medical Center.

Two-thirds of women’s heart attack deaths occur in women with no history of chest pain. The American Heart Association says subtle heart attack symptoms are often mistaken for another health condition.

Another common believed myth is that women and men with heart disease get the same medical care. Research shows that women are less likely than men to receive medications that can prevent further health problems such as beta blockers, statins, and ace inhibitors. Women are also less likely to receive an implantable defibrillator or even to be given aspirin following a heart disease diagnosis.

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