Women, Men Experience Similar Symptoms of Heart Disease

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A new study concluded tests meant to confirm heart disease likely pinpoint the same symptoms in men and women.

The two most common studies, including angina (also known as chest pain) and shortness of breath are common to both women and men, according to the study. The study included more than 10,000 adults in Canada and the United States.

For most patients, symptoms of blockages in the heart are the same among women and men, the lead researcher reported. The study also found it could still be tougher for women to be diagnosed accurately than men. This is due to the fact that standard evaluations don’t include risk factors for heart disease that are more common among women.

The research team compared test results from patients with suspected heart disease. The research group comprised one of the largest cohorts of women evaluated for heart disease in a study setting ever.

According to the findings, chest pain was the main symptom for 72 percent of men and 73 percent of women. Shortness of breath was the second most common symptom, with 15 percent of men and women experiencing the symptom.

Women more commonly experienced palpitations or jaw, neck, and back pain as their main symptom. But the percentage of both women and men with these symptoms was quite low—less than 3 percent at most.

Women were typically a bit older, less likely to smoke or be overweight, less likely to be white, and more likely to be inactive, have a history of depression, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a family history of heart disease.

Men scored better than women when it came to self-assessing their risk for developing heart disease. Risk factors are generally more common among women. General inactivity, depression, and early onset heart disease in the family history are not typically included in risk assessments.

This study highlights the importance of accounting for the differences between men and women throughout the diagnostic process. Healthcare providers need to be aware of the fact that in the majority of cases, men and women experience the same symptoms of heart disease.

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