Heart attacks once characterized as a part of “old man’s disease” are increasingly occurring in younger people, especially women, according to new research.
Among women having heart attacks, the increase in young patients went from 21 percent to 31 percent, a bigger jump than in young men. Researchers also found that young women had a lower probability than men of getting lipid-lowering therapy, including antiplatelet drugs, beta blockers, coronary angiography and coronary revascularization.
“Women were not managed the same way as men, and that could be for a combination of reasons,” said Arora, a cardiology fellow at the University Of North Carolina School Of Medicine.
“Traditionally, coronary artery disease is seen as a man’s disease, so women who come to the emergency department with chest pain might not be seen as high-risk,” he said. “Also, the presentation of heart attack is different in men and women. Women are more likely to present with atypical symptoms compared to men, and their heart attack is more likely to be missed.”
“It’s hard when a woman is working two jobs and taking care of the family, too,” Piña said. “They’ll do anything for their families, but they often leave themselves for last. We need to teach women to change their health attitude and take care of themselves. If they don’t do well, their families won’t do well either.”