According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, more than 1 million people in the United States suffer heart attacks annually, and half die as a result.
Last week, researchers reported in the American Medical Association that women heart attack victims are more likely than men to arrive at the hospital without chest pain, but are more likely to die once admitted.
A new study done by these researchers state that women do not always experience chest pain when having a heart attack.
Classic heart attack symptoms include chest pain or discomfort and sensation of pressure (or tightness) in the chest, arm, neck, or jaw. Other nonclassic symptoms include nausea, vomiting, upper back or neck pain, and feeling faint.
The problem with the nonclassic symptoms is the failure of patients seeking immediate treatment.
The study involved statistics taken from heart attack patients from the National Registry of Myocardial Infarction (481,581 women and 661,932 men were analyzed). The study showed the percentage of women arriving at hospitals without chest pain was high (42% versus 30% in men). Almost 15% of women died once admitted to the hospital (compared to 10% of men).
The study also showed that women younger than 55 were less likely to show signs of chest pain compared to older women.
The wide range of symptoms that can indicate heart attack may not be as clear and predictable in women than they are in men.
It is important for women know the early signs of a heart attack so they can seek help immediately. Heart attacks and heart disease still remain the number one cause of death in both men and women.
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