Do women have different symptoms of heart attack?

The answer is yes! Furthermore, we as physicians need to be careful to look for subtle symptoms. A recent study shows that women who have a heart attack have a higher mortality (chance of dying) at 1 year and 5 years. Women have upper arm pain, neck pain, jaw pain, indigestion, fatigue and weakness as more common signs of heart attack instead of the central or left sided chest pain that men may complain of. Many times the diagnosis is missed or delayed leading the higher complication rate. Women also have plaque erosion versus plaque rupture seen in men. Women are also more likely to have non-obstructive coronary artery disease during cardiac catheterization for non-ST elevation myocardial infarction. It turns out microvascular disease plays a bigger role on women in heart disease.

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