Women are at higher risk of missing a potentially fatal heart disease diagnosis because their symptoms are more subtle than men, leading cardiologists warn
- Signs that a woman has heart disease can often be more subtle than in men, leading to them being overlooked
- Early diagnosis of heart disease allows for faster medical intervention, which can prolong a person’s life
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Americans, killing one in five women in the United States
- Many cardiologists have admitted their inability to adequately address women’s cardiovascular health
Important signs that a woman has heart disease or is about to develop a potentially fatal cardiovascular problem are often overlooked because they are more subtle than in men, leading cardiologists warn.
A report published by the American Heart Association (AHA) warns that women are often diagnosed with heart disease later in life than men, although there is no evidence they actually develop it later. This means they are likely to be in worse condition and begin treatment in a more degenerate state.
Commonly overlooked symptoms of heart disease include a reduced ability to walk and occasional difficulty breathing. Experts at the AHA also warn that some symptoms that could soon set a woman up for a heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, or other potentially fatal condition are also often overlooked.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans and retains the dubious title during the COVID-19 pandemic. While women are often more concerned about breast cancer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that women are just as likely to die from breast cancer as men.
Experts warn that while heart disease is the leading cause of death among US women, telltale signs a woman is suffering often go unnoticed by doctors (File Photo)
“Symptoms often come in clusters… very rarely does someone come in with just one symptom,” said Dr. Corrine Jurgens, author of the report and professor of nursing at Boston College, TODAY.
Experts say doctors often look for specific patterns when preparing for a diagnosis.
Mississippi residents are 50% more likely to die than anyone else in America—and seven times more likely than Minnesotans
Mississippi has by far the highest rate of heart failure in the United States – with annual death rates seven times that of other states.
Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic and Emory University found that from 1999 to 2019, Mississippi had an average of 7.98 heart failure deaths per 100,000 people — by far the worst rate in America.
The state’s eastern neighbor Magnolia, Alabama, came in second at 5.24 per 100,000, which is significantly lower. Minnesota had the lowest heart failure rate at 1.09 per 100,000 people — just 13 percent of the Mississippi total.
Elevated rates of cardiovascular problems in the South have long been known to health officials, with poor diet, sedentary lifestyles and higher rates of poverty being blamed. The ten states with the highest number of deaths from heart disease are all in the southern United States.
Researchers, who published their findings Wednesday in JAMA Cardiology, collected information from 61,729 heart failure-related deaths that occurred in America from 1999 to 2019.
They then adjusted the data based on age so that older populations, who are inherently at higher risk for these types of conditions, do not weigh on the data.
Mississippi has emerged as the leader by a wide margin, and problem experts have been warning for years.
Mississippi has by far the highest heart failure rate in America
In the case of heart disease, the most important signs are changes in the ability to breathe fully or in being able to exert less effort.
However, doctors are slow to recognize these symptoms in women. This can greatly increase their risk of dying from the disease.
Once a person learns they have heart disease, they can begin making lifestyle changes and taking medications to help slow the progression of the disease.
Although there is no known cure for it, a person can significantly increase their lifespan after being diagnosed with heart disease through medical intervention.
“Early intervention often creates the best chance of a successful outcome, and early detection, addressing a problem before symptoms develop, is a potential lifesaver,” writes Providence Health.
There are also early warning signs that a person is about to have a heart attack that can kill them — although symptoms in women are different than men and can also go unnoticed or unnoticed.
Experts warn that a woman suffering a heart attack often experiences nausea, lightheadedness, fatigue and cold sweats before the event.
Before a stroke, a woman suffers severe headaches and a more altered state of mind than men, which often leads to it.
Heart failure can often build up for weeks before reaching a critical point that requires hospitalization.
Before an event, a woman often begins to sweat, has unusual swelling on the body, and experiences an unexpected feeling of heartburn.
Women may also experience symptoms of depression and anxiety in the pre-heart failure period, which can lead to confusion or strange behavior.
The sooner these symptoms are identified as a potential cardiovascular problem, the sooner a doctor can intervene with potentially life-saving medical care.
The CDC warns that around 20 percent of American women will die from heart failure, outpacing other more talked about dangers like breast cancer.
Many have reported that women’s medical symptoms are often not taken as seriously as men’s, a problem that could have potentially fatal consequences.
While heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in America, a survey found that only a fifth of primary care physicians and 42 percent of cardiologists feel they can properly assess a woman’s heart health.
A 2018 British study found that doctors’ failure to detect heart attacks in women led to an increased mortality rate in women compared to men.