According to a recent study, younger women are at a higher risk of dying of heart disease as medical professionals often dismiss their heart attack symptoms. Symptoms like chest palpitations, difficulty of breathing, and indigestion can be telltale signs of a heart attack.
Researchers at the Yale School of Public Health interviewed more than 2,000 young women and nearly 1,000 men after having a heart attack and needing hospitalization. The oldest patient was 55 years old which means that the latest research is one of the few that focuses on younger demographics when it comes to heart disease risk.
Lead author Judith H. Lichtman warned that the most common symptoms that somebody is having a heart attack include chest pain, pressure, and discomfort. Ninety percent of study participants reported these symptoms.
Women Often Misdiagnosed
However, women reported additional symptoms like palpitations, shortness of breath, pain in the arms, neck or jaw, and indigestion. Around 29% of women experiencing these symptoms went to a doctor. Of those who sought medical assistance, more than a half (53%) were told by their physicians that the symptoms were not associated with heart issues.
Some doctors linked the symptoms to stress or anxiety, and very few of them correctly associated them with an incoming heart attack. Many of the doctors must have been misled by women’s young age.
Around 22 percent of men reported extra heart-related symptoms, but fewer of them went to a doctor. When they did go to a doctor, just 36.7% were told that their symptoms were not related to a heart condition.
Lichtman speculates that the differences in diagnosis are due to the fact that doctors are biased toward believing that younger women have a lower risk of heart disease than younger men.
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