Nearly half of heart attacks among women do not present with “typical” symptoms seen in men. Chest pain and pressure are still the main symptoms of a heart attack for both men and women. But women commonly also report atypical symptoms such as indigestion, nausea, pain that radiates across the back or the entire chest, dizziness, malaise and shortness of breath. The American Heart Association says that even after a heart attack, women without significant obstructions in their arteries may not get proper treatment or necessary medications. The American Heart Association reports some other differences between heart attacks in men and women, which include:
- Women delay getting the treatment longer than men with a median delay of 54 hours vs. 16 hours for men.
- Risk factors of heart attack are more acute for women with Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure than for men.
- Plaque, the gunky substance that clogs arteries and may lead to blood clots, may form differently in some women. In younger women the plaque does not bulge as much in the artery, making it less noticeable and not as easy to detect and diagnose during routine doctor visits and testing. Blood clots may still form and result in a heart attack.
- Stents may not be as effective in treating this type of less obstructive plaque that forms in the arteries of certain women. More research is needed on treatment options such as suctioning out a clot or applying clot-busting medications directly to the clot.
- Women typically have more complications following a heart attack in the hospital such as shock, bleeding or heart failure.
- Some physicians are less likely to follow medical guidelines for women, and some women do not take medications as indicated or participate in follow up cardiac rehabilitation. This may lead to long term health complications.
- Women with depression have a higher risk factor for heart attacks, which may be due to less healthy lifestyles.
- African American women are more likely to have heart attacks than Caucasian women. They are less likely to be referred for cardiac catheterization or bypass surgery, which are important treatments to help restore blood flow to coronary arteries and prevent heart attacks. African American and Hispanic women are more likely to have high risk factors such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.
- Women only represent one in five participants in cardiovascular disease clinical trials; as a result there are gaps in knowledge and consequently poorer outcomes for women.
MedTrust Transport provides emergent and non-emergent ambulance services in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and Georgetown, South Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida. We have trained EMT personnel and a fleet of fully-equipped ambulances. We aim to provide passionate and timely patient care.