The weird factor that could help more women survive a heart attack

Even though there has been more of a focus on the effects of cardiovascular disease and the heart attacks it causes in women in the past few years, a huge disparity still exists when it comes to treatment.

The simple fact is that if you’re a woman who is having a heart attack, your symptoms can look different than the man having a heart attack in the same emergency room.

And, guess what else is different?

Your chances of surviving, going home to your family and living a long, happy life are far less.

In fact, previous research has shown that although twice as many men have heart attacks as women each year, approximately the same number of men and women die from them.

Let that sink in for just a second…

Even though double the number of men will suffer a heart attack as women in the next twelve months, just as many women will die.

So, what’s going wrong?

Why are men getting the treatment they need to heal and live through those heart attacks while women are dying at double the rate?

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Heart attacks in women

Well, first off I think we can all agree that as women, we’re more likely to be put off and even ignored when it comes to serious symptoms.

In fact, all too often doctors may write off the problems we’re experiencing as anxiety or depression – in other words, it’s all in our heads – rather than taking the steps needed to make sure our health is not in serious danger.

But, when it comes to heart attacks, there’s one more thing at play.

Like I said earlier, as a woman, if you suffer a heart attack, you’re likely to have different symptoms than a man will.

Although both men and women tend to experience chest pain, women often have more subtle symptoms that are easy for doctors to write off as a less serious problem – symptoms like indigestion, nausea, shortness of breath and discomfort in your neck, back, arms or jaw.

So, if you go to your doctor or the emergency room with those symptoms, you might get sent home without the treatment you need to save your life.

But, there is good news…

A new study has shown that there is a way to even out the gap and ensure that you have just as good of a chance of surviving that heart attack as a man.

Female doctors and a higher survival rate

Researchers analyzed two decades of records from Florida emergency rooms and found that the one thing that gives women a greater fighting chance is if they’re treated by a female doctor.

If you’re having a heart attack and are treated by a female doctor, you have a far greater likelihood of survival than if you have a male physician – the glass ceiling at work in your health.

And, it’s not the only study that proved the fact.

A 2016 study by researchers from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health found that, “If male physicians had the same outcomes as female physicians, we’d have 32,000 fewer deaths in the Medicare population.”

So, if you feel you could be having a heart attack, a female doctor could give you the best chance possible at surviving but you have to trust yourself, speak up for your right to choose your physician and if a female doctor isn’t available, don’t allow yourself to be dismissed. Heart attacks present differently in men and women and you shouldn’t be afraid to request the tests and treatment you need to protect your life.

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  1. Women less likely to survive a heart attack than men — National Heart Foundation of Australia
  2. Women More Likely to Survive Heart Attacks If Treated by Female DoctorsThe Atlantic
  3. Gender and Heart Disease — American Heart Association, Inc.
Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

By Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic, with more than 20 years of experience. She has dedicated herself to helping others enjoy life at every age through the use of alternative medicine and natural wellness options. Dr. Schmedthorst enjoys sharing her knowledge with the alternative healthcare community, providing solutions for men and women who are ready to take control of their health the natural way.