Friday, February 6, 2009

Heart Attacks, Women, and an Astounding Discovery

Incredible, but true: Medical experts have discovered that women are not small men!

That startling fact has been known for some time:

"Heart To Heart"
"How Symptoms of Heart Disease Differ in Men and Women."
Susan L. Comer in HealthCare Directions Magazine, via Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (Spring 2003)

"Heart disease has long been considered a man's bastion, albeit one they'd gladly relinquish. But gender stereotyping can be deadly in matters of the heart. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming 950,000 lives annually. More than half of these deaths occur among women. And even as women are often unaware...."

"Many Women Still Misinformed About Heart Disease"
"Risk factors and symptoms of trouble can be very different from those for men"
Dennis Thompson, HealthDay Reporter, via Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi (2005)

"FRIDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- It's a health message that doctors have been directing at women for some time, but too often it fails to get through: The classic sign of a heart attack isn't always searing pain in the chest, usually lasting several minutes.

"But that's not necessarily the symptom felt by women, who make up 50 percent of America's heart attack victims.

" 'Women more often than men experience shortness of breath, unusual fatigue, or the pressure is lower down in the chest so it is mistaken for a stomach ailment,' said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and author of Women Are Not Small Men....." (available on and elsewhere)

Aside from being useful (maybe life-saving) information and advice, I think these articles, and the Dr. Goldberg's book, are examples of how the medical profession is starting to realize that not all knowledge is found in the textbooks, and that human beings don't necessarily work exactly the way 'experts' thought they should, back around 1900.

Yes! They can be taught!

"A decade or so ago, many healthcare providers didn't consider women candidates for heart disease either. 'What would happen,' says Marla Mendelson, M.D., a cardiologist at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital, 'is that women came in with chest pain and were sent home with antacids, and men came in with chest pain and got stress tests, angiograms, and surgery.'

"Consequently, until the late 1990s, women were virtually absent from heart disease studies. 'The historical assumption,' says Dr. Wenger, 'was that whatever occurred in middle-aged men was the norm and that that could be extrapolated both to women and to older patients of both genders. And, of course, that's not the case.' Certainly, the classic presentation of chest pain for an imminent heart attack remains common, but other symptoms may also occur. 'If you look at a population of both sexes over 80 or 85 years of age,' she says, 'only about a third have pain.' More frequent is shortness of breath or severe fatigue....'

1 comment:

Heart Attack said...

In the cases of heart attack and cardiac arrest, or any other heart shocks, time sets to be the most crucial factor for the survival of the patient. Sometimes, a little knowledge regarding the immediate actions to be taken may help your near and dear ones to survive in such incidents. The response a person takes to treat a victim decides the probability of his/her survival. Its been my personal experience fighting to survive against a heart attack. A quick reorganization of your bodily responses may increase your chances of survival. Because of having many heart problems, I was enrolled in a concierge Healthcare program from elite health. I was attacked by a severe heart attack in a party, luckily surrounded by many people. Some of the sudden changes in my body was recognized by me and anticipated immediately. I got a very severe chest pain which was almost unbearable for more than a minute. I got the suspicion that I might be having heart attack, and immediately called my physician on the phone, and explained my condition and its severity. Because of the immediate guidance, I was directed immediately to have an aspirin which I used to carry with me as prescribed by my physician. It was quite a frightening experience for me to face such a heart attack, but somehow I managed to be calm until 911 arrived. I was immediately taken to the nearest hospital, where already my physician were present and have got everything setup according to my medical history. And it was in some matter of seconds that everything was in control. A doctor, who already have the complete knowledge of the medical history and fitness of the person, extra ordinarily ameliorate your recovery process. Hence such a concierge level program from Elite health, helped me a save my life, like many others.

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