Why Do Women Often Not Notice Symptoms of Heart Trouble?


Quick Answer

According to the American Heart Association, many women and their doctors are not aware of the heart disease risk for women. Two-thirds of women who died suddenly from heart disease had no prior symptoms. Women who experience symptoms are more likely to ignore them, delay treatment and be misdiagnosed.

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Full Answer

Traditionally thought of as a disease primarily affecting men, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. There are a variety of reasons why women do not often notice the symptoms of heart trouble. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reports that women are more likely to think they are at a lower risk of experiencing bad health, ignore their symptoms and put off seeing their doctors.

When they do see their doctors, women are at a higher risk of being misdiagnosed and tend to receive delayed treatment. This is because they do not often report traditional symptoms associated with heart disease. For example, women are more likely to report symptoms such as pain in the neck, jaw, abdomen or back. They also describe their pain differently than men, experiencing sharp burning pain in the chest as opposed to the dull chest pain usually associated with heart attacks.

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