Young women ignore heart attack warning signs: study

New Haven, CT – Many younger women delay seeking medical care for symptoms of an impending heart attack, leading to a higher rate of cardiovascular death when compared to similarly aged men, concludes a study from the Yale School of Public Health.

Researchers examined the emergency care-seeking experiences of 30- to 55-year-old women who were hospitalized because of a heart attack. They found that in addition to experiencing widely varied symptoms and inaccurately assessing their personal risk of heart disease, the women were influenced by factors such as work and family.

“Participants in our study said they were concerned about initiating a ‘false alarm’ in case their symptoms were due to something other than a heart attack,” lead researcher and Yale associate professor Judith Lichtman said in a press release.

The researchers recommended that young women increase their knowledge of heart disease, more promptly seek care and improve their preventive heart care.

About 15,000 women younger than 55 die in the United States each year from heart disease, according to the university.

The study was published Feb. 24 in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.