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eWellness: Heart attack symptoms in women and elderly are different

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Dr KK Aggarwal    24 June 2018

  1. Chest pain is still the most common sign of a heart attack for most women but women are more likely than men to have symptoms other than chest pain or discomfort when experiencing a heart pain. In a study published in Archives of Internal Medicine researchers examined 35 years of research that yielded 69 studies and found that, between 30 and 37 percent of women did not have chest discomfort during a heart attack. In contrast, 17 to 27 percent of men did not experience chest discomfort.
  2. Older people are also more likely to have heart attack without chest discomfort. Absence of chest discomfort is a strong predictor for missed diagnosis and treatment delays.
  3. Women are also more likely than men to experience other forms of cardiac chest pain syndromes, such as unstable angina, and they appear to report a wider range of symptoms associated with acute coronary syndrome. They are more likely to report pain in the middle or upper back, neck, or jaw; shortness of breath; nausea or vomiting; indigestion; loss of appetite; weakness or fatigue; cough; dizziness; and palpitations.
  4. Women are, on an average, nearly a decade older than men at the time of their initial heart attack. Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death among U.S. women, and affects one in 10 women over the age of 18.

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