Everyone knows the traditional, telltale signs of a heart attack. Chest pain, discomfort, and in many cases a dull ache in the left arm that radiates toward the chest. What many people don't know is that there are numerous other symptoms and whether or not you even experience them could depend on your sex. That's right, new research published by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that heart attack symptoms often vary between men and women. So, how can you be sure if you're actually having a heart attack?
Over a third of the patients surveyed did not have any chest pain associated with their heart attacks, and this percentage was even higher in women than it was in men. Some of the other symptoms to watch out for are things like excessive sweating, tightening of the jaw, nausea, or feelings similar to that of heartburn or acid reflux. An increasing number of women end up hospitalized for heart attacks without ever feeling any chest pain. Because of this, the death rates have increased as well.
Women under age 45 were the least likely to mention any chest pain during a heart attack, and although chest pain is still the main symptom it has been the youngest of the patients who have experienced heart attacks without it. In most cases, women are about 10 years older than men when they have their first heart attack, though it could simply be from protective benefits of estrogen. There are no definitive reasons for the sex based difference, but some believe that there are certain biological differences that could be responsible.
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