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6 Heart Attack Facts for Women

6 Heart Attack Facts for Women

A Woman's Heart is a 1992 album featuring six legendary female Irish artists; it sold more than any other album in the history of the Irish music charts. We hope that A Woman’s Heart Attack, the American Heart Association’s first scientific statement on myocardial infarction in women, gets at least that much attention. The paper, published in the journal Circulation, points out:

  • High blood pressure is more strongly associated with heart attacks in women than in men.
  • Young women with diabetes are at four to five times the risk for heart disease as young men.
  • Compared to white women, black women have a higher incidence of heart attacks and young black women have higher in-hospital death rates. Hispanic and black women are also more likely to have multiple risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • Women are more likely to have atypical symptoms (along with chest pain), like shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting and back or jaw pain.
  • Post-heart-attack, women are consistently NOT given recommended medications, leading to worse outcomes. Cardiac rehabilitation is prescribed less frequently.
  • Because women live longer, they have more complications following a heart attack than men.

If you’re female and are overweight, have elevated LDL cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure or smoke, see your doc to develop a heart-healthy plan that includes stopping smoking, weight management, nutritional counseling and physical training. If you’re a heart-attack patient, insist on medications outlined in treatment guidelines, if appropriate, and get the support you need to join and stick with cardiac rehab.

Medically reviewed in September 2018.

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