Younger Women Often Ignore Early Heart Attack Signs

Women between the ages of 30 and 55 tend to ignore early heart attack symptoms, which may be part of the reason more young women die from heart attacks than young men, according to new research by Yale School of Public Health. Many women delay seeking medical attention when they have a heart attack because they don’t realize they are having one at first, said Judith Lichtman, associate professor and chairwoman of Yale School of Public Health’s department of chronic epidemiology. Researchers conducted in-depth interviews with 30 women between the ages of 30 and 55 who had suffered heart attacks within the previous two weeks. The resulting research recently was published in the journal “Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.”

The study focused on women who were younger than the typical demographic for heart attacks, which more often strike people in their 60s. “A lot of the women had chest pain and pressure, which is the hallmark symptom of a heart attack, but also described other symptoms,” Lichtman said, such as fatigue, muscle pain and indigestion.