Health & Fitness

The docs: How a woman’s heart is different from a man’s

“A Woman’s Heart” is a 1992 album featuring six legendary female Irish artists; it sold more than any other album in the history of the Irish music charts. We hope that A Woman’s Heart Attack, the American Heart Association’s first scientific statement on myocardial infarction in women, gets at least that much attention. The paper, published in the journal Circulation, points out:

▪  High blood pressure is more strongly associated with heart attacks in women than in men.

▪  Young women with diabetes are at four to five times the risk for heart disease as young men.

▪  Compared to white women, black women have a higher incidence of heart attacks and young black women have higher in-hospital death rates. Hispanic and black women also are more likely to have multiple risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

▪  Women are more likely to have atypical symptoms (along with chest pain), like shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

▪  Post-heart-attack, women are consistently NOT given recommended medications, leading to worse outcomes. Cardiac rehabilitation is prescribed less frequently.

▪  Because women live longer, they have more complications following a heart attack than men.

If you’re female and are overweight, have elevated LDL cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure or smoke, see your doc to develop a heart-healthy plan that includes stopping smoking, weight management, nutritional counseling and physical training. If you’re a heart-attack patient, insist on medications outlined in treatment guidelines, if appropriate, and get the support you need to join and stick with cardiac rehab.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit