London– Researchers have revealed that women’s heart attack symptoms are not all that different, adding that the top three heart attack symptoms in both women and men are chest pain, sweating, and shortness of breath.
Heart attack symptoms are often labelled as ‘typical’ in men and ‘atypical’ in women, according to the study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
“But our study shows that while symptoms can differ between the sexes, there are also many similarities. Whatever your gender, if you experience heart attack symptoms, don’t delay. Call the emergency services immediately,” said study author Dr Annemarijn de Boer of the University Medical Centre Utrecht in the Netherlands.
The researchers said that symptom recognition is crucial to enable fast, life-saving treatment for people having a heart attack.
Some previous studies report sex differences in symptoms while others report shared symptoms.
This study compiled the highest quality studies – 27 in total – from the past two decades detailing symptoms in patients with the confirmed acute coronary syndrome (heart attack or unstable angina).
In addition to sharing the three most common symptoms, the research team found that the majority of men and women experiencing acute coronary syndrome had chest pain: 79 per cent of men and 74 per cent of women.
Significant differences in symptom presentation between women and men were also reported.
Compared to men, women were more than twice as likely to have pain between the shoulder blades, 64 per cent more likely to have nausea or vomiting, and 34 per cent more likely to experience shortness of breath.
Although chest pain and sweating were the most frequent symptoms in both women and men, they occurred less often in women, who had a 30 per cent lower odds of chest pain and 26 per cent lower odds of sweating compared to men.
“The study did not investigate the reasons why there are some variations in symptom presentation between women and men, but previous research has shown sex differences in how heart attacks occur in the body, but it is uncertain how or whether this relates to symptom presentation,” said Dr de Boer.
“The cause of symptom differences between the sexes deserves further study,” the researchers noted. (IANS)