Navigation Links
Younger Women Often Miss Signs of Heart Attack

Small study found they attributed symptoms to stress, indigestion and fatigue

FRIDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) -- Many younger women ignore or simply don't recognize the warning signs of a heart attack, often because it doesn't resemble the typical "Hollywood heart attack."

So say the authors of a study being presented Friday at the American Heart Association's annual Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke, in Baltimore.

"So many women said, 'We wish we had a better stereotype, you never see anything in the media,'" said study author Judith Lichtman, an associate professor of epidemiology and public health at Yale School of Medicine. "I personally would love to see some cutting-edge TV series of, for example, a young person having a heart attack with atypical symptoms."

"The classic image of someone having a heart attack is someone like John Belushi. It's a heavy man clutching his chest. We never think of young women as having heart disease, so the image is not part of their consciousness," added Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of Women & Heart Disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "It's so important that we not only tell women that heart disease doesn't necessary have to look like [a Hollywood script], but they have to understand what makes them at risk."

Heart disease is the leading killer of American women, claiming almost half a million lives a year, or about one death per minute. According to background information from the authors, 16,000 young women with heart disease die every year and 40,000 are hospitalized.

Last year, a study from the same group of researchers found that women under the age of 55 often fail to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack until it's too late.

Eighty-eight percent of women in that trial reported traditional symptoms of severe chest pain. Yet only 42 percent suspected something was wrong with their heart.

Only half of the women experiencing heart attack symptoms sought care within the first hour, apparently because they thought their symptoms weren't real or weren't serious.

For this study, researchers conducted in-depth interviews with 30 women aged 55 and older a week after they had been discharged from the hospital following a heart attack.

Many didn't realize the symptoms were due to a heart attack. For example, one woman said she was told she was experiencing symptoms of acid reflux. Others attributed symptoms to fatigue, overexertion or stress.

Often, the symptoms just didn't line up with how heart attacks are presented in the popular media.

"I [had] probably seen a show or something with somebody having a heart attack," said one woman. "And they fall. They grab their chest. And then they grab their arm... I mean, you don't see anybody saying I have pain in my jaw or especially a heart attack, you don't see them vomiting . . . I did not know that and it's probably because of television, I would say is why I thought it would just be in the chest."

Similarly, another woman told investigators, "It's like... I didn't have any of the typical heart attack symptoms that you always hear about on TV and the ER hospital shows."

Some delayed treatment because symptoms went away for a while, or because they were too busy or had experienced prior, negative encounters with the health-care system (" . . . they throw you out, you know," said one woman. "If you don't have the money right there, then in two days you're gone").

One woman said she called her doctor about chest pains but was scheduled for a regular appointment in five days. Another woman who went to the emergency room spent an hour trying to find a supervisor to help her after a "rude" nurse just kept telling her to have a seat.

"A lot of women were triaged for a regular visit or, even in the ER, were being looked up for a lot of things other than a heart attack," Lichtman said.

Ironically, for some women, it was actually a relief to know that they were having a heart attack, that finally the mystery was over, Lichtman said.

Lichtman and her colleagues will be looking at this issue in more depth in a U.S. National Institutes of Health-funded study enrolling 2,000 women under 55 and 1,000 men in the same age range.

"A little bit of empowerment goes a long way," Steinbaum said. "Knowing your risk and knowing the potential for heart disease, seeking early care for symptoms that are really unclear and then saying, 'I am at risk for heart disease, please help me' becomes important in the paradigm of how this needs to develop."

More information

Visit the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women for more on women and heart disease.

SOURCES: Judith Lichtman, Ph.D., associate professor, epidemiology and public health, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; Suzanne Steinbaum, D.O., director, Women and Heart Disease, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; May 2, presentation, American Heart Association's Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke, Baltimore

Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Safe at Any Age: Octogenarians Do As Well as Younger Patients With Interventional Radiology Arterial Procedures
2. Double Lung Transplant Better for Younger COPD Patients
3. Cancer study finds adolescents dont get same access to latest treatments as younger patients
4. BRCA1 Mutation Prevalent Among Hispanic, Younger Black Women
5. Research finds allergic children exposed to peanuts at younger ages despite recommendations to avoid
6. Depression Linked to Bone Loss in Younger Women
7. Radiation Seed Treatment Helps Younger Men Fight Prostate Cancer
8. Younger Veterans at Greater Suicide Risk
9. Bipolar Diagnoses in Younger People Show Huge Increase
10. Study shows gene variations may predict risk of breast cancer in women
11. Some women more likely to miss or ignore heart attack warning signs
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Younger Women Often Miss Signs of Heart Attack
(Date:11/27/2015)... Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... study carried out by the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia ... of hospitalizations for head injuries. The article explains that part of the reason for ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... A team of Swiss doctors ... treat it. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted the findings on the website. Click ... analyzed the cases of 136 mesothelioma patients who were treated with chemotherapy followed by ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... Lizzie’s Lice Pickers just announced a special promotion that will run ... purchase of lice treatment product. In addition, customers will receive a complimentary head Check ... lice is a sure way to ruin the holidays, so we encourage all of ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only dating community in the world, revealed that over 50% of its ... 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 – or 67% of the population - ... estimates of HSV-1 infection . , "The data shocks us highly!" said Michelle Li, ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... A simply groundbreaking television series, "Voices in America", which is hosted by Hollywood legend, ... that are presently affecting Americans. Dedicated to providing the world with a wide variety ... consumers focus on, one episode at a time. , In the latest installment ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26 november 2015 AAIPharma Services ... geplande investering aan van ten minste $15,8 ... en het mondiale hoofdkantoor in ... resulteren in extra kantoorruimte en extra capaciteit ... groeiende behoeften van de farmaceutische en biotechnologische ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 3D bioprinting ... 2022, according to a new report by Grand View Research ... Disease (CKD) which demands kidney transplantation is expected to boost ... effective substitute for organ transplantation. --> 3D bioprinting ... 2022, according to a new report by Grand View Research ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... universitetssjukhus ser potential att använda SyMRI för ... för patienter med multipel skleros (MS) ... med SyntheticMR AB för att kunna använda ... sjukhuset. Med SyMRI kan man generera flera ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: