Why Are Heart Attacks Fatal More Often in Women?


Woman Peering Over Her EyeglassesThere are several reasons that heart attacks are fatal more often in women compared to men. Patients and providers still assume that heart attacks occur more often in men – and women don’t “look” like men and are not treated aggressively. Heart doctors call this the Yentl Syndrome. Also, women do not seek treatment because they don’t think they could even have heart disease. Finally, women often do not have “male pattern” heart disease; normal tests do not always diagnose heart attacks in women because the tests themselves were developed in men.

As a result of these issues, heart attacks in women are not recognized as rapidly or at all. So, women are more likely to die than men.

Early Detection Is Key

Women need to know that heart disease is their number one killer. Women are very likely to have heart disease, which kills one in three women. The more everyone is aware of this fact, the more likely people and providers are to recognize a woman who is having a heart attack. It may cross her mind when she is having ANY symptoms that this could possibly be a heart attack, and she will seek treatment.

Knowing what symptoms to look for, how to prioritize heart health and understanding when to seek professional treatment can all be crucial steps towards preventing heart disease and other heart-related issues that can lead to a heart attack.

Know Your Symptoms

Some of the most common heart attack symptoms include chest and arm pain, and radiating pain outward from the chest. Both men and women may experience these symptoms, but women are more likely to also experience symptoms like nausea, vomiting and pain in the back or jaw. Since these symptoms are less well-known, many women may not realize they’re having a heart attack at all.

The best heart attack defense for women is to eat right and exercise, get regular heart health assessments and educate yourself about the risks and symptoms associated with heart attacks in women.