everyday science

female heart attack: not as seen on TV

Picture the scene:

A man gasps. He clutches his chest and suddenly falls to the ground on / his office table.*

In reality, my dear, a heart attack victim could be 8/10 cases a woman, and the scene may not be that dramatic. If we leave death out of it, of course. As a matter of fact, did you know that cardiovascular disease (heart, stroke, and blood vessel disease) is the number one killer of women globally? It’s not breast cancer. They’re not traffic accidents.

‘I am just a little tired.’

Nausea. Fatigue. Back pain.

For a man, it is what it is.

For a female persona, oh well, that could be just a few subtle signs of a heart attack. Followed by shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure, or extreme fatigue.

For some of you ladies, that could be just a cocktail of random end-of-the-week moods and feelings.

Even when the signs are subtle, the consequences can be deadly, especially if the (female) victim doesn’t get help right away. Even though heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women — in the United States and Serbia for that matter, women often chalk up the symptoms to less life-threatening conditions like acid reflux, the flu, or a regular aging process.

A heart attack strikes someone in the US about every 4 seconds, according to the Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Report from 2017.

Every year, about 790,000 Americans have a heart attack.

In Serbia, only in 2017 cardiovascular were the murderers of 53.668 people, with a killing spree of 147 men and women per day. More than 54% of that astonishing number are female deaths, according to the “Milan Jovanović Batut” Public Health Institute.

Still, pop-culture depictions of heart almost typically and funnily enough always involve a man.

Kudos to Grey’s Anatomy, for having three cases of women having a heart attack during all 15 seasons of the TV show.

One thing is for sure: heart disease threatens both ends of the gender spectrum. Those with XX and XY chromosomes.

The way a heart attack looks and feels in a male body can be very different from how it looks and feels in a female one.

Now you know it.

Take care of yourself :* 

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