Research shows women should be serious about heart health

2/6/2009

DALLAS Women may do well to be pro-active around their heart health, new research published last month in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes Archives has revealed. Compared with men, women have 50% greater odds of being delayed treatment for a heart attack by emergency services.

The reason appears to be that women present different symptoms on the onset of a heart attack — nausea, vomiting, upper-back pain, shortness of breath, dizziness and indigestion, for example — and those symptoms aren’t necessarily associated with an acute heart attack event.

“Although our analysis does not reveal why women were more likely to be delayed, previous research suggests a plausible explanation: symptom presentation in women with cardiac disease differs from that of men and a coronary event may not be recognized as readily by the patient or by EMS personnel,” commented Thomas Concannon, the study's lead author and assistant professor of medicine at the Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. “Inappropriate delays may occur because there is less certainty of cardiac involvement, because more time is spent diagnosing the condition, because the patient’s condition may not be seen as emergent, or as the result of some combination of these factors.”

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