Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. However, women tend to expect more than men to seek help for heart attacks, according to a new report.
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Researchers at Triemli Hospital in Switzerland recently conducted a study, published in the European Heart Journal, to investigate changes in patient delay, which the authors defined as "the time between onset of symptoms and contact with a hospital, emergency or general practitioner. "
To do this, they examined 4,360 adults who had a heart attack between 2000 and 2016. They determined how much time men and women expected to get help for the symptoms of heart attack. They also observed delays in the system, which was defined as the amount of time doctors took to treat patients.
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After analyzing the results, they found that women and men had equal reductions in system delays over the 16-year period.
"We found no gender difference in the timely delivery of care by health professionals, with men and women receiving a stent more quickly after contacting medical services than in the past," co-author Matthias Meyer said in a statement.
On the other hand, the patient's delay decreased among men, but not among women. They found that women waited about 37 minutes longer than men before contacting medical services.
"Women who have a heart attack seem to be less likely than men to attribute their symptoms to a condition that requires urgent treatment," Meyer said.
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In fact, the team noted that women may have different symptoms of heart attack than men.
"Women and men have a similar amount of pain during a heart attack, but the location may be different," Meyer explained. "People with chest pain and left arm are more likely to think it is a heart attack, and these are common symptoms for men. Women often have back, shoulder or stomach pain.
Unfortunately, they believe that patient delay among women contributed to a higher hospital mortality rate. For women, it was 5.9% and 4.5% for men.
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"Every minute counts when you have a heart attack," Meyer concluded. "Be aware of moderate to severe discomfort, including pain in the chest, throat, neck, back, stomach, or shoulders that lasts for more than 15 minutes. It is usually accompanied by nausea, cold sweat, weakness, shortness of breath or fear. "
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