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Heart symptoms in women differ from men

22nd February 2012

The British Heart Foundation has warned that heart attacks can show different symptoms.


It comes after a new study revealed that fewer women than men suffering from a heart attack appear to experience chest pain symptoms.

However, while more men have heart attacks, women who have them under the age of 55 are more likely to die from one.

BHF senior cardiac nurses Cathy Ross said a heart attack did not necessarily mean excruciating chest pains.

She said: “Symptoms vary; for some the pain is severe and yet others may feel nothing more than a mild discomfort or heaviness. The most important thing to remember is if you think you're having a heart attack, call 999.

“Younger women may need to heed that advice more than most because they appear to be less likely to have chest pains.”

The BHF also said symptoms can be overlooked by inexperienced medical staff because heart attacks in young women are rare but the new research will highlight such variations.

The study of more than one million people in America found that 42% of women did not experience chest pain compared with 30% of men.

Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the authors said: “Patients without chest pain/discomfort tend to present later, are treated less aggressively, and have almost twice the short-term mortality compared with those presenting with more typical symptoms of MI.”

Consultant cardiologist Dr Kevin F Fox from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said that when young women had heart attacks, the outcomes were not good.


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Article Information

Title: Heart symptoms in women differ from men
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 21166
Date Added: 22nd Feb 2012


BBC News

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