Heart Attacks Symptoms: The Study
Do men and women experience heart attacks differently? No, says a viral study.
For years, health experts have believed that women show different signs and symptoms when having a heart attack. While the general populace know experiencing chest pains or left arm pains as signs of heart attacks, health experts used to say that wasn’t always true for women. Instead, experts state that women receive symptoms like heartburn or back pain. But a study from August not only points out that men and women experience the same symptoms, it states that women are actually more likely to exhibit said symptoms.
For the study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers looked over patient-reported symptoms. They combed over 2,000 people’s reports of acute coronary syndrome. 91% of men and 92% of women expressed experiencing chest pain. This made it the most common complaint.
In the end, the study ended up with results opposite what is universally believed. Men were the ones to exhibit “uncommon” symptoms like heartburn or pains in their back. Meanwhile, women more commonly exhibited common symptoms.
In addition, the study found palpitations were more often reported as a symptom by women. That’s on top of their pain radiated to the left arm, the back or to the neck or jaw. Lastly, women also reported nausea as a potential symptom.
An Expert’s Response
These results have surprised and interested many health and medical experts. For instance, Dr. J. Travis Wilson, a cardiologist at Canonsburg Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA said the following to the Herald Standard:
“The classic teaching has always been that it’s perfectly fair game for women to present with atypical symptoms. But it doesn’t have to be the classic center of your chest crushing pain sort of story and it can be more atypical symptoms rather than the shortness of breath or palpitations or back pain or belly pain.”
He then added:
“But what’s interesting, and what kind of motivated this study, is something that we struggle with,” he said, “is all of us coming together and agreeing on a universal definition which sounds like such a simple idea. But you’ll find in academia that everyone feels that their definition is the correct definition. And so for us to all get together on the same page is really kind of a big deal.”
The biggest takeaway, according to the researchers and Wilson, is that doctors and patients need to be careful of under-diagnosing and undertreating people experiencing different symptoms than what textbooks tell us.
“At the end of the day, I think the important thing is to simply, as providers, and also as patients, is to never dismiss yourself,” Wilson said. “You know, if you’re concerned, we’re concerned. And it’s a good reminder for us to always listen to our patients because you know your bodies better than anyone.”
h/t: The Herald Standard