Many women with Heart Disease throughout the United States often go undiagnosed due to many misconceptions and beliefs that women and men alike experience same the symptoms of heart disease. Therefore, women go untreated and often head down the wrong path in the future. Read more below to learn about the comparing and contrasting facts regarding heart disease in women versus men.

Men vs Women: Heart Attack Symptoms  

Many of the well known heart attack symptoms in men and women include, intense chest pains and breaking out in cold sweats. However, women can have more subtle and less noticable symptoms and the result is that women are unaware that what they are experiencing is a heart attack. They then proceed to blow off the symptoms instead of receiving immediate medical treatment. These symptoms include pain/discomfort in the stomach, jaw, neck, back, nausea and shortness of breath.

To make matters worse, many healthcare providers misdiagnose these symptoms causing women to discover their heart disease too late in time. So it is no surprise that heart disease is the leading killer of women. 

Men vs Women: Stroke

Every year 55,000 more women than men experience a stroke throughout their lifetime. Nonetheless, women are up against unique threats compared to men such as, hormones, reproductive health, pregnancy and childbirth.

For example a history of eclampsia or pre-eclampsia doubles a woman’s risk of having a stroke or heart attack within the next 5 to 15 years. Eclampsia or pre-eclampsia is a pregnancy complication consisting of high blood pressure, high protein levels, and sometimes seizures.

Men vs Women: Anatomical Differences in the Functionality of the Heart

In men, a heart attack begins with the buildup of cholesterol-filled plaque in the coronary artery which results in a sudden burst of the artery. On the other hand, in younger women, the plaque has higher chances of eroding into the vessel wall instead of rupturing. Dr. Scott at the University of Harvard states, “Women are also more likely to have smaller, nonfatal heart attacks”. 

Anatomy of the Human Heart

 

In a study performed in, Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers found that the size and the ability to pump of the right side of the heart differs in men and women. The right ventricle pumps blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen, so all types of lung diseases have the potential to affect the right side of the heart. Although, the fact is, the right ventricle is larger in men than it is in women. Therefore, if problems arise and the heart becomes weaker and/or loses its pumping ability, the heart will start to be negatively affected.

 

Websites Used: 

  1. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease/art-20046167?pg=2
  2. https://www.goredforwomen.org/know-your-risk/find-out-your-risk/gender-heart-disease/
  3. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/heart-attack-and-stroke-men-vs-women