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Women Have Higher Rate of Heart Attacks Compared to Men

Heart attack risk in women is a serious concern that had not received due attention until recent times.  However, at present, 1 in 3 women die each year due to heart disease when compared with 1 in 30 for breast cancer. This calls for more research in this area so that heart attack symptoms in women can be correctly identified and addressed in a timely manner. Medical documentation is a major requirement and a professional medical transcription company can provide the required support to physicians and researchers. It also helps in reviewing, editing and keeping the records safely.

According to American Heart Association (AHA) statistics, every minute one woman dies from heart disease in the U.S. An estimated 44 million American women are affected by CVD, and 90% have one or more risk factors for it. When heart attacks occur, compared to men, very few women survive the attack.  This is because heart disease symptoms in women are different from men.  But the good news is that 80 percent of heart attacks can be cured by lifestyle changes.

Earlier, more men than women died of heart disease due to various differences in biology and health habits. But over the years, this gap reduced and later it surpassed men’s heart disease death rate. In 2017, both men and women were dying at a similar rate.  The increase in women’s death rate due to heart attack was because women entered the workforce and it added stress and pressure to balance both home and work.  Researches show that the primary care physician and cardiologist did not recognize heart disease in women but now studies are conducted to get a sex-specific diagnostics and CVD treatment.

Dr. Nanette Wenger, professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at Emory University in Atlanta, “The challenge for public, scientists and advocates is to investigate to get more information on women and heart disease, disseminate that information to educate people, increase advocacy for women to know about and understand heart disease and finally legislate for future equality for women and minorities in the study of CVD.”

During the decade spanning 1980 to 1990, when many studies were carried out on breast cancer, women had become very vigilant about breast cancer and tended to attach less importance or seriousness to other health risks including heart diseases. This may be because breast cancer affects the body image, self-esteem and sexuality of women whereas a diagnosis of heart disease does not.  Younger women don’t give due seriousness to heart attack threat because heart disease usually shows up at an older age (on an average, a woman’s first heart attack occurs at age 70).  Another finding is that for many women, their physicians never talk to them about coronary risk and sometimes fail to recognize the symptoms because they mistake those symptoms as signs of stress, panic disorder, stress and so on.

Factors That Lead to Heart Attack in Women

There are some things that can control heart disease to a certain extent and it is important for women to understand those things. Some of the habits that can lead to heart disease are smoking, drinking alcohol etc. Smoking or even exposure to second-hand smoke increases heart attack risk. Moderate exercising with a healthy diet will reduce the risk of heart attack. Self monitoring is important to keep track of their blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. Menstrual history is also an essential element in this regard. Women who began to menstruate before age 10 or after age 17 appear to be at higher risk. The same is true for women who experience early menopause. Other less-known conditions such as small artery disease, also known as microvascular endothelial dysfunction, can cause heart attacks. This is a condition where the smaller arteries supplying the heart are affected, usually due to dysfunction of the arteries and not complete blockages. Women have smaller hearts than men, and are likelier to have this smaller-artery disease.

Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) which means a tear in the heart is a common condition in women that leads to heart attacks. 90% to 95% of SCADs occur in women, and 5% to 10% occur in late pregnancy or soon after giving birth. Women can have different symptoms of heart attacks and heart diseases. They may experience nausea, shortness of breath, vomiting, etc. and according to the Mayo Clinic, women describe a more subtle pressure or tightness, not full-blown chest pain because their smaller arteries are also affected apart from the main arteries. Most women arrive in emergency rooms after heart damage has occurred, mainly because they don’t always recognize their symptoms as those of a heart attack.

So, women have higher chances of getting heart disease when compared to men. This rate can be reduces by maintaining a healthy diet with good exercise.  Moreover, women should also raise their voice for better research, treatment and outcomes to minimize the chances of heart disease and heart attacks in women. Cardiologists and researchers in this area can ensure accurate cardiology documentation with a reliable provider of medical transcription services

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