HEART DISEASES: 7 DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN

Heart disease remains a leading cause of mortality worldwide. In 2017, cardiovascular diseases were responsible for 18.6 million deaths. But did you know that men and women experience them differently?

Understanding these differences can aid in early detection and appropriate treatment. Here are seven key differences between men and women when it comes to heart disease.

Heart diseases

RISK FACTORS

While some risk factors for heart disease are common to both men and women, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking, some are more prevalent or have a greater impact in one gender over the other. For example, diabetes poses a higher risk for heart disease in women than in men. Additionally, conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and menopause increase the risk specifically for women.

SYMPTOMS OF HEART ATTACK

Heart attack symptoms can differ significantly between men and women. Men often experience the classic symptom of chest pain, which may radiate to the arm, shoulder, or jaw. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to have non-classic symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, back or jaw pain, and extreme fatigue. These atypical symptoms can lead to delays in seeking treatment.

DIAGNOSTIC CHALLENGES

Due to the difference in symptoms, heart diseases in women are often underdiagnosed. Women are more likely to have heart disease misdiagnosed as anxiety or stress. This diagnostic challenge underscores the importance of healthcare providers being aware of the different presentations of heart disease in women.

RESPONSE TO TREATMENT

Men and women may respond differently to certain heart disease treatments. For instance, women are less likely to receive certain types of heart medications like statins and beta-blockers, even though these are standard treatments for heart disease. Additionally, women may have different responses to interventions such as angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery.

THE ROLE OF HORMONES

Hormones play a significant role in heart health. Estrogen, a hormone more prevalent in women, provides some protection against heart disease, which is why women typically develop heart disease about 10 years later than men. However, this protective effect diminishes after menopause, increasing the risk of heart disease in postmenopausal women.

PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT

Heart disease can have a profound psychological impact, and this impact can differ between men and women. Women are more likely to experience anxiety and depression following a heart attack. These psychological conditions can affect recovery and adherence to treatment plans, making it crucial to address mental health alongside physical health in heart disease management.

PREVENTIVE MEASURES

Both men and women can benefit from lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of heart disease, but certain preventive measures may be more critical for one gender. For example, managing diabetes and blood pressure is particularly important for women. Regular physical activity, a heart-healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding smoking are essential for everyone, but awareness of gender-specific risks can enhance preventive strategies.

SCHEDULE A CARDIOVASCULAR CHECKUP AT SRCE – CENTER FOR INTERNAL DISEASES

Understanding the differences in how heart diseases affect men and women is crucial for effective diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Recognizing that symptoms, risk factors, and treatment responses can vary between genders helps tailor healthcare approaches to improve outcomes for both men and women. If you have concerns about heart disease, consult our team of doctors to receive personalized advice and care.

At Srce – Center for Internal Diseases, we are prepared to provide comprehensive assessments of heart health and customized treatment plans. Contact us to schedule a checkup and take proactive steps toward better heart health.

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