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Gender Differences in Heart Attack: What Women Should Know
While some people think that heart attacks are an exclusively male affair, myocardial infarction is also one of the most common causes of death in industrialized countries among women. However, there are some differences compared to the male gender, health experts explain.
Recognize myocardial infarction in good time
Health experts say that around 300,000 people in Germany suffer a heart attack (myocardial infarction) every year. Although many people are hit out of the blue by an infarction, there are often certain signs beforehand. Recognizing a heart attack quickly can be life-saving. But especially in women, the disease is often not recognized. This may also have to do with the fact that there are some differences compared to men. For example, their heart attack often announces other warning symptoms.
Not a men's thing
Heart attacks are often considered to be a man's affair, but in fact, cancer in Germany is not the leading cause of death for women in Germany, but heart attacks and strokes since 2002.
"While the rate of deaths from cardiovascular diseases in men continues to decrease, it decreases less in women and even rises between the ages of 40 and 55, which is not least due to the fact that more and more women smoke", the German Heart Foundation writes on its website.
And more and more young women are affected, as US scientists reported.
According to the experts of the Heart Foundation, there are differences between the sexes in the symptoms of the heart attack.
Instead of severe pain, a feeling of pressure or tightness
Classic signs of a heart attack include severe chest pain, which can spread to different parts of the body such as the arms, between the shoulder blades in the back or in the neck.
However, the experts point out that women in the chest area experience pressure or tightness rather than severe pain, but this must be taken at least as seriously.
Pain in the jaw and a violent burning sensation in the chest can also be important indicators of an infarction.
However, a heart attack can also manifest itself with so-called "non-specific signs", which is somewhat more common in women than in men, reports the German Heart Foundation.
Non-specific signs include, for example, shortness of breath, upper abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
Certain leg pain is also a possible sign of a heart attack.
"Since such complaints can also occur with other harmless diseases, the German Heart Foundation recommends calling the emergency doctor whenever these unspecific complaints occur to an extent never experienced before," write the experts.
"There may be a heart attack behind it." (Ad)