TELEVISION PARK– Even though heart disease kills more women than any other cause, studies show 4 out of 5 women still don’t consider heart disease the most serious threat to their health.
In an effort to change that, the American Heart Association has published a scientific statement on heart attacks – written specifically for women. That’s the first time it’s ever happened, and here’s why it’s so important.
By taking her pulse rate and blood pressure every day, Carmela Powers can spot even the most subtle signs of heart problems. But for years, she unknowingly ignored them. Carmela would get pain in her jaw and had no idea it was a symptom of serious heart trouble.
“Down in here, this is where it would just erupt. and it would come on real strong and then it would go away.”
After ignoring the pain for years, Carmela had 3 heart attacks in a matter of days. Over the last decade or so, doctors have noticed that heart attacks in women can be very different than in men.
“But it hasn’t been compiled together about what are the symptoms, what are the treatments, what are the types of heart attacks that women experience.”
Now, it has been compiled – and published by the American Heart Association in an 87-page scientific statement. Dr. Laxmi Mehta of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center was a primary author. she says heart attack differences in women can be stark and are often deadly.
“When women are having heart attacks, their recognition is often delayed. it can be a few hours, could be days.”
And could be due to subtle symptoms in women. both sexes have chest pain, but women can have shoulder or jaw pain, or may mistake heart attacks for heartburn or the flu. And while most men have heart attacks due to artery blockage.
“Women can have different types of heart attacks. one type is where they have intense spasms of their heart artery.”
It’s all information doctors need to best treat heart attacks in women, and now, it’s all in one place.
“This is like a one, go-to document for physicians or healthcare providers to take a look at.”
The document also points out that risk factors like diabetes and depression tend to impact women more seriously than men. And after a heart attack, women are surprisingly worse than men at getting follow-up care. The statement was compiled by doctors at ten different hospitals across the US.