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Heart attacks are not gender neutral

Published on February 21, 2017

Heart attacks are not gender neutral

Kathleen Mahon, RN, MN, CNP, APHN
CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center

Heart attacks are not gender neutralCardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.

According to a recent statement from the American Heart Association, coronary heart disease remains understudied, underdiagnosed and undertreated in women despite improvements in cardiovascular mortality for women in the past two decades. Since 1984, the annual CVD mortality rate has remained greater for women than for men.

Why? There are a number of reasons:

  • Heart disease is more difficult to detect in women because their arteries are usually smaller so the typical angiogram test of cholesterol buildup doesn’t work well.
  • Heart attack symptoms are different. Women may experience nausea, back and jaw pain, and intermittent shortness of breath.
  • Women are prone to complications after a heart attack because their blood vessels are smaller.

What can you do?
If you are a woman, you have a one in three chance of developing heart disease. You have the power to change this. The Women @ Heart Project helps women lower their risk for heart disease. In this program, you will meet one-on-one with a nurse practitioner, dietitian and exercise physiologist. The goal is to prevent heart disease through changes in lifestyle. Call 320-656-7060 to request an appointment.

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About the Author

Kathleen Mahon

Kathleen Mahon, RN, MN, CNP, APHN
CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center
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