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Good Housekeeping
Jennifer Chan, Assistant Managing Editor
February 25, 2012

Men and Women Have Different Heart Attack Symptoms, Study Shows

Research shows women are less likely to suffer from chest pains when having a heart attack. By Jennifer Chan

Many of the physiological differences between men and women have been obvious since the dawn of our existence, but some of the subtler differences are only just now coming to light. For example, there's the differences between the heart attack symptoms seen in men and women. According to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, men and women don’t necessarily produce the same symptoms for the same health problem. The discrepancy, based on the findings, has something to do with both gender and age. 

Women, for instance, were found to be less likely to complain of chest pains. In the study, only 58 percent of them reported feeling sharp stabs in their chest, compared to the 69 percent of men who did. Of the 35 percent of patients who reported feeling no chest pain, a larger percent was comprised of women. 

Women are also more likely to suffer heart attacks later in life than men. Researchers believe that this is due to their production of estrogen, which keeps plaque from forming in the heart arteries. However, this doesn’t mean that younger women are exempted from suffering heart attacks. In fact, researchers think that the heart attacks that plague younger women may be biologically different from the usual kind that affects men and older women. This makes detection of possible heart problems even more difficult.

Instead of chest pains, younger women may feel a generalized ache in different parts of the body. With more women dying of heart attacks than men, it’s important that we take note of even the slightest changes in our health. Armed with this new information, we can at least become more vigilant, watching for any symptoms before it’s too late to do anything about them. 

For more on heart attacks and heart disease, check these out:

(Photo by alexbruda via

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Jennifer Chan
Assistant Managing Editor
Jennifer Chan was a contributing writer for Female Network for two years before formally joining the team as a staff writer in July 2012... Read more...
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