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Man’s Heart, Woman’s Heart

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The threat from heart disease is the same, but the symptoms differ.

Posted April 16, 2012



While heart disease continues to receive a lot of attention, certain myths surrounding the disease persist.

A couple of the most common myths are that heart disease is more common in men than women, and that the first signs of a heart attack are the same for both men and women, says Dr. Mary Ann McLaughlin, medical director of the cardiac health program at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in men and women in the United States, affecting both sexes relatively equally. “Women are more afraid of dying from cancer,” says McLaughlin. “But in fact, they are much more likely to die from heart disease.”

Also, the first signs of a heart attack can manifest themselves in different ways between men and women. While both men and women can experience the more well-known symptoms like chest pain or tightness and a shooting pain in the left arm, here are the most common differences in symptoms by sex, according to McLaughlin.

The more obvious symptoms are more prevalent in men, which might be why research shows that men go to the emergency room with symptoms much earlier in than women.

More subtle symptoms are more likely in women. These include shortness of breath, sweating or dizziness, nausea, severe fatigue, sudden sleep disturbances, pain radiating through the jaw, small of the back or between the shoulder blades.

“Women with diabetes are about twice as susceptible to heart attacks as men with the condition,” says McLaughlin. “Increased risk factors for women also include having an autoimmune disorder and a history of gestational diabetes or preeclampsia during pregnancies.”

Knowing the first signs of a heart attack is important, but reducing your risks for heart disease is the best way to avoid experiencing one. McLaughlin offers the following tips for a healthy heart:

To learn more about heart disease and care, and to hear stories from patients who have experienced heart disease, visit www.mountsinai.org/heart.

Article credit: ARAContent.com.

 

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