True or False? Heart Attack Symptoms Differ in Men and Women

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HonorHealth - Heart Attack Symptoms Differ in Men and Women

Lawrence Kline, DO, a cardiologist with HonorHealth has the answer: In many cases, it's true: women and men have different symptoms when experiencing a heart attack. Women having a heart attack often don't have the classic crushing chest pain that most of us associate with a heart attack. If they do have chest pain, women may notice it while they're at rest. By comparison, men having a heart attack typically will experience chest pain when they're active or exercising.

Additionally, women are more likely to have more subtle heart attack symptoms, such as fatigue, shortness of breath and jaw pain.

There are other differences between men and women when it comes to heart health. Women, for example, tend to have a higher systolic blood pressure, higher triglyceride levels and higher levels of high-sensitive C-reactive protein or HsCRP, which is a marker for inflammation and increased acute risk for heart disease. Women should know their numbers, including blood pressure, cholesterol, waist circumference, blood sugar and cholesterol levels and discuss these with their doctors. And of course, you shouldn't smoke cigarettes.

One aspect that is quite common among female heart patients is that they often have ignored their own health. Typically, this is because they are so busy being the caretakers for others. Women need to be aware that heart disease is the greatest risk for their health. It is the #1 killer of women. The risk of dying from cardiovascular disease is exponentially higher than the risk of dying from breast cancer and twice as high as the risk of dying from all other cancers combined.

"That's why I encourage women to exercise, avoid tobacco, eat healthy and undergo heart health screening," says Dr. Kline.

To learn more about the health of your heart, attend one of our screenings or events.

This content was originally published in The Glendale Star Health and Wellness Quarterly Winter 2016 issue. “Ask the Expert Health and Wellness Quarterly Winter 2016 Issue.” Health & Wellness Quarterly – Winter 2016. 21 Jan. 2016. Online PDF. Glendalestar.com. Accessed on 17 Feb. 2016. link