Heart attack once characterized as an “old man’s disease” is increasingly occurring in younger people, especially women, according to new research.
The heart specialists who conducted the study identified many important things including the fact that women having chest pain may not be seen as high-risk by doctors and that the symptoms of heart attack are different in men and women. Women are more likely to present with unusual symptoms compared to men as a result of which their heart attack is more likely to be missed.
The study was conducted in the United States where the number one killer of women is heart disease, but these lessons are applicable to other parts of the world.
The study also found that high blood pressure and diabetes were rising among all patients who had heart attacks and young women were even more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Focusing on health can be particularly challenging for women because of long-held gender beliefs about parenting and household work, said one of the authors.
Commenting further, she said, “It’s hard when a woman is working two jobs and taking care of the family, too,”. “They’ll do anything for their families, but they often leave themselves for last. We need to teach women to change their health attitude and take care of themselves. If they don’t do well, their families won’t do well either.”