Women are not men with smaller hearts, the differences are significant in terms of heart health and disease.
- Women develop advanced heart disease about 10 years later than men.
In general, premenopausal women are relatively protected from heart attacks and advanced diseases until they are about 50 years old, unless they have the habit of smoking, have diabetes or have high cholesterol. Hifu LA Lipo
Unfortunately, the rapid increase in obesity and the conditions that accompany it, such as increased blood pressure, cholesterol and high blood sugar, are causing women to suffer from serious heart disease (1).
- Atherosclerosis is different in women.
Women tend to have a more diffuse type of plaque, while men have focal lesions that affect the hands and feet, causing the fingers to acquire a sausage shape.
What contributes to the fact that atherosclerosis in women is more difficult to diagnose by means of stress tests and even by coronary angiography (2).
- Certain heart diseases are grouped in women.
Injuries to the arteries of the heart and carotids, called spontaneous dissections, are rare, but much more common in women, especially before menopause.
It is assumed that hormonal differences are the cause of these injuries.
In addition, a heart syndrome caused by both physical and emotional stress factors that mimic a heart attack (Taku-Tsubo syndrome) is much more common in women (3)
- Pain is complex in women.
On the one hand, there are fewer women with chest pain who have severe focal narrowing, which allows cardiologists to associate that pain with heart disease.
On the other hand, women in the hospital with chest pain have a higher mortality than men, in part because they are, on average, 10 years older and have other disease conditions.
Atherosclerosis of the small arteries, dysfunction of the arterial lining (endothelium) and spasm of the arteries are all possible causes of chest pain without focal obstruction (4).
- Symptoms in women with heart disease may differ by race.
In an analysis of women with suspected heart disease, black women generally described stomach symptoms compared to white women, while white women frequently reported chest pain.
The rates and severity of obstructed arteries do not differ by race, but mortality is almost double in black women. Atypical manifestations can be a barrier to timely diagnosis and treatment (5).
- Women are more likely to have a psychiatric diagnosis.
When doctors detect heart symptoms in men and women, women are twice as likely to receive a mental health diagnosis as men.
Any suspicious symptoms in women older than 30 years should be investigated to rule out coronary artery disease (6).
- Women’s hearts are evaluated more slowly than men’s.
The review of more than 5,000 emergency medical services in patients with suspected heart disease, made it possible to detect that women were more likely to have a delayed evaluation.
The authors of the study indicated that women are more likely to delay the 911 call, for fear of being detected more complex medical problems when they are considered (tend to be older) and to have worse results (7).
- Women make it difficult to heart health
Women with heart disease usually need at least one annual exam, but often fail to do so.