Men vs women - Why gender matters in heart disease?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. But the symptoms and risk factors of heart disease aren't the same in men and women.

By Zee Media Bureau | Updated: Feb 17, 2017, 16:02 PM IST
Men vs women - Why gender matters in heart disease?

New Delhi: Both male and female have a heart – an organ, perhaps the most important and powerful, that pumps blood through the blood vessels of the circulatory system.

Although the heart looks similar in both sexes, there are significant differences in men and women - such as the size, shape and and how it reacts to emotional feelings. And that's the reason why gender plays a major role when it comes to heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. But the symptoms and risk factors of heart disease aren't the same in men and women. Here's how-

  • Women tend to develop symptoms at a later age because they are often protected by high levels of estrogen until after menopause.
  • Women age 45 and younger are more likely than men to die within a year of their having a heart attack.
  • Symptoms of heart attack can develop in both men and women alike, for instance, chest pain, breaking out in cold sweat, etc. However, women often experience subtler, less recognisable symptoms, making them unaware about a heart attack. Symptoms of heart attack in women may include shortness of breath, pain in the neck, back or jaw, fatigue.
  • Women are more likely than men to develop other health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, when they have heart problems.
  • Women also have certain diseases that men don't have, which increase their risk of cardiovascular disease. These include - endometriosis, polycystic ovary disease (PCOS), diabetes, and high blood pressure that usually occurs during pregnancy.
  • A woman's heart pumps faster than a man's, but ejects about 10 percent less blood with each press.
  • Veins in women are more sensitive than in men. Women also have veins that are an average of 1 mm thinner than men’s, which makes their hearts harder to work on.
  • A woman's her pulse rate rises when she's stressed, and her heart ejects more blood. Whereas when a man is stressed, the arteries of his heart constrict, raising his blood pressure.
  • Women have smaller and lighter coronary arteries than men do.

 

In addition, women don't always get the proper medication they need after a heart attack and that's one main reason to be blamed for.