Next up in the news is another story that focuses on the differences between male and female patients when it comes to heart disease, heart attack and cardiac arrest. A recent study looked at these differences and came out with a report that women routinely wait longer than men to report cardiac symptoms, often to their detriment.
Study on Women and Heart Disease
The study was presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress. The study’s authors looked at people with suspected cardiovascular disease and conducted the study in two parts. First they looked at people’s perceptions of their chest pain and other cardiac symptoms and their decisions to seek assistance.
Then the researchers looked at a second group of patients to separate the patients according to their gender and how they managed their symptoms. They even came up with a new term called the “symptomatic tipping point.” This is the point at which symptoms become severe enough to cause the person to call 911 or otherwise seek medical help.
Ignoring Cardiac Symptoms Until It’s Too Late
Initially, both men and women ignore the symptoms they are experiencing, attributing them to stress or indigestion. Women, however, wait longer to seek help often because they don’t think that women get heart attacks at frequently as men. The are unaware that heart attack is the leading cause of death in women, too. Another reason cited is that women often put their own health as second to that of their family members, causing them to put health issues on the back burner in favor of taking care of family needs.
Clearly this study points to the fact that we need to do more to educate women in our communities about the dangers of heart disease and that they are at just as high a risk for heart attack as men. I urge you to find ways to engage people in educational efforts on this and other health related issues.
Follow up on the links to this news item and all the other articles and resources in this week’s episode show notes – Mechanical CPR Devices, Cardiac Arrest and MedicCast Episode 413.