HOUSTON (FOX 26) - New research finds that heart attacks are on the rise among young women. Studies show that young women are often misdiagnosed, their symptoms are overlooked, and their treatment is delayed.
Cardiovascular disease is a leading killer of both men and women in the United States, accounting for about every 1 in 3 deaths. Past research has shown that women are less likely to experience chest pain during an attack, which is one of the most well known symptoms.
The study dismissed common heart attack myths such as that they primarily target men, older people, and that they are caused only by clogged arteries.
"It's important to note that in heart attacks, the most common presentation is chest pain," said Dr. Huma Kausar, an emergency room physician. "However, in females, they can have some lesser known symptoms as well, ranging from neck pain, back pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, nausea, abdominal pain, so it's very important to not dismiss these symptoms."
The study targeted women from ages 35-54, a demographic that Dr. Kausar says doesn't usually go to their primary care physician due to busy lifestyles. They often dismiss their symptoms, especially when they aren't aware that they could be serious.
Symptoms to look out for: jaw, back, neck, or arm pain, nausea, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, heart palpitations, indigestion/heartburn, and abdominal pain.