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A recent study of over one million female patients revealed that women having heart attacks are less likely to seek immediate care than men, and more likely to die in the hospital.
USA Today reports that many women fail to take advantage of such treatments as clot-busting drugs, balloon procedures to open the arteries or bypass surgery. Consequently, 15% of female heart attack patients die in the hospital, compared with 10% of men. And that doesn’t take into account women who don’t make it to the hospital in the first place.
One thing working against females, especially younger ones, is that they appear less likely to suffer chest pain or pressure – 42% of the women studied didn’t experience this classic heart attack symptom, compared to 31% of men. But they may develop shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, light-headedness and pain in the back or jaw, according to the American Heart Association. A sudden onset of fatigure may also be a warning sign.
Men and women alike should know their cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood sugarcardiologist, notes Nieca Goldberg, medical director of NYU Langone Medical Center’s Tisch Center for Women’s Health. “We should use this study as an eye-opening bit of news to these women,” she says.