A new study shows that young women tend to downplay the symptoms of an impending hear attack, such as chest discomfort or pain, nausea or dizziness, or brush them off as signs of minor health conditions, such as indigestion or back pains.
Also, the study results revealed that younger women affected by heart attack symptoms are reluctant to get urgent medical help or delay getting it for various reasons, while others believe that they are too young to have a heart attack so they fail to reach a doctor in due time.
For this reason, study authors suggest, America faces disproportionate high rates of death from heart attack among young women. According to the official data, in the U.S. more than 15,000 women younger than 55 die every year from a type of heart disease, making heart condition the top ranking death cause among this age group.
The new study was conducted by researchers from the Yale School of Public Health and sponsored by the Fannie E. Rippel Foundation and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The findings were published Wednesday in “Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.”
For their research, the research team examined and surveyed several women aged 30 to 55 who were at a hospital after having suffered a heart attack, also known as acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The study participants were questioned about their immediate response after their first symptoms, past experiences, and how they decided to seek help.
According to the data gathered during the surveys, the heart attack symptoms varied quite a lot from one woman to another both in nature and duration, while most patients underestimated their risk of having a heart attack due to their young age. But researchers warn that young women with an extensive history of cardiac disease in their family and “multiple risk factors” are at high risk of a heart attack regardless their age.
Furthermore, scientists found that most women decided to seek medical care due to external factors, such as their family or the inability to perform work tasks. But when women finally got to a doctor, not all of them got the proper diagnosis, or a complete workup for their symptoms. Besides, few of them accessed preventive care for heart attack.
“Participants in our study said they were concerned about initiating a false alarm in case their symptoms were due to something other than a heart attack,”
study authors noted.
Also, they suggested that the risk of AMI could be substantially lower if women received the necessary info on their condition in due time, as well as adequate stimuli to seek medical care without the fear that they may be judged or stigmatized.
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