Heart attacks affect women more than men, study reports

Avatar By Joseph Scalise | 2 years ago

While heart disease is the leading cause of all deaths worldwide, a recent study shows that it hits women much harder than men.

This new discovery — which comes from researchers at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute — sheds new light on the often fatal issue and could one day help doctors better treat it.

To conduct the research, scientists analyzed data from 90,000 heart failure patients between 2009 and 2014. They found that 16.8 percent of women died within a year of their diagnosis, a large jump from the 14.9 percent of men who died in the same time.

In addition, the research revealed that women tend to have their first heart attack later than mean — 72 years of age compared to 65.

This finding builds on past research that shows how heart disease differs between the genders. Studying such trends could be important in helping diagnoses and influencing future treatment.

“There are known sex-based differences in the risk factors, presentation and management of heart disease,” wrote the team in their new paper, according to New York Post.

Previous research shows that more women have died from heart disease than men each year since 1984. While many believe that solely comes from the fact that women get heart attacks at older ages, there are other reasons as well.

For instance, scientists have also discovered that women are more likely to develop what is known as “small vessel disease” where blockages occur in tiny vessels as opposed to the larger surface arteries. Such blockages are much harder to detect and often go unnoticed until it is too late.

The team hopes the new study will spur future trials and one day lead to a much more complete understanding of heart attacks.

“There’s something that we’re doing right in men that we’re not doing right in women, so that’s why we really need to raise awareness of this,” said lead author Louise Sun, a researcher at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, according to The Windsor Star.

The new findings are published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.