Heart attack causes more deaths in women than men

Lisbon : A study has found that women have twice the rate of heart attack death than men.

In a study of 884 men and women in Portugal, researchers found that women’s chances of survival due to heart attack were reduced.

All of them were hospitalized for the most dangerous type of heart attack (in which the vein that supplies blood to the heart closes).

To open the closed vein, all the patients underwent angioplasty and a stent was inserted so that blood could circulate easily. Angioplasty was performed on these patients within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms and research was started to know the mortality rate in these patients.

The results of the study, presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s Scientific Congress Heart Failure 2023, showed that the number of women dying within 30 years after this medical condition occurred was 2.8 times higher.

On this occasion, 11.8 women died, while the death rate of men was 4.6 percent.

Women are at higher risk of dying from heart attacks because they have a heart attack when they are older than men and are generally in poor health.

Dr Mariana Martinho, lead author of the study, said that women of all ages who are affected by a heart attack are at a higher risk of deteriorating health.

He said that these women need to strictly control blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes after suffering from this medical condition.


Symptoms of a heart attack in women

Women’s symptoms of a heart attack differ from men’s. Anxiety, fatigue, shortness of breath, and cold sweats are all possible side effects. Symptoms can be confused with the flu or acid reflux.

Acute myocardial infarction is the leading cause of death in women all over the world. It can affect not only older women, but also young women under the age of 55. Although it is stated that heart attack symptoms are less common in women than in men, many scientific sources indicate that chest pain is equally characteristic and common in both sexes. What distinguishes the female sex is that during a heart attack, women are more likely than men to develop atypical symptoms (and there are more of them) as well as prodromal symptoms.

What are the symptoms of a heart attack in women?

The symptoms of a heart attack may resemble those of other heart diseases, such as advanced coronary artery disease  or pre-infarction. Be vigilant if you notice even one of the following ailments:

  • burning or pressure in the so-calledin the well – may resemble heartburn, but does not improve with antacids, there may also be pain in the center of the chest ,
  • sudden muscle pain – may be accompanied by inertia of the hands, pain may be in one or both arms, back, neck or jaw,
  • shortness of breath – breathing is accelerated, shallow and it is not due to intense effort or severe stress (and even if it does, it does not subside under the influence of rest and relaxation),
  • extreme fatigue  – perceived as a sudden general weakness (which can lead to fainting ),
  • other symptoms such as: nausea and even vomiting, dizziness, cold sweats .

The most common symptom of a heart attack, regardless of gender, is chest pain or discomfort. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to report unusual heart attack symptoms such as jaw or back pain, shortness of breath, and nausea. So, they might get the wrong diagnosis or not connect their symptoms to a heart attack. 

Early warning signs of a heart attack in women

Symptoms that occur during a heart attack are one thing, but doctors also look for prodromal symptoms that appear before the disease. Dr. Jean C. McSweeney led a team of scientists from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences who looked into the significance of early warning signs. The following are the main warning signs that appear in women up to a month before the onset of a heart attack:

  • unusual, severe tiredness (the most common symptom)
  • sleep disorders,
  • dyspnoea,
  • chest discomfort.

Chest discomfort was present in almost 30% of women a few weeks before the infarction.

First aid for a heart attack in women

Even doctors have difficulty diagnosing a heart attack quickly. As a result, don’t try to diagnose yourself and don’t underestimate the problem. Call an ambulance if you are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack. If you suspect someone is having a heart attack, you should administer first aid before calling an ambulance:

  • when the patient is conscious, put him in a semi-sitting position,
  • loosen your clothes, open a window to let in some air,
  • when the patient is unconscious, put him in the lateral position,
  • control the patient’s pulse and breathing – if the heart stops working, start cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

In recent years, there has been an increase in cases of acute myocardial ischemia at a young age, which is caused by diseases such as diabetes or obesity, as well as excessive stress. That is why it is important to learn how to recognise a heart attack. The earlier it is diagnosed, the better the prognosis.

Heart attack risk increases during flu: Study

Amsterdam: A new study suggests that people who are diagnosed with the cold virus have a higher risk of heart attack for up to a week after diagnosis.

According to experts, the risk of heart attack increases by six times in these seven days after being infected with the virus than a year ago and after.

Experts said that the results of the research illustrate the importance of the flu vaccination program as well as provide awareness about the symptoms of heart attack to physicians treating cold patients.

A team of Dutch researchers reviewed the results from 16 laboratories in the Netherlands and compared them to deaths and hospital records. Between 2008 and 2019, laboratories confirmed 26,221 cold cases.

In this group, 401 patients had a heart attack a year ago or after the period of the flu, while some of these patients had more than one heart attack. The total number of heart attacks was recorded at 419.

Of these 419 heart attacks, 25 occurred within seven days of diagnosis, 217 heart attacks occurred within one year before diagnosis and 177 occurred within one year after diagnosis (excluding seven days).

According to the study, 139 patients (35 percent) died within a year of being diagnosed with a cold due to heart attack or any other cause.

According to the researchers, the risk of heart attack was 6.16 times higher in people suffering from colds for one week after diagnosis. While the risk of heart attack increased by 2.42 times in the first week after removing the death record.

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