Comparison of the most common symptoms of 6 heart diseases in men and women

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Heart disease can have many different symptoms in men and women. Hiroshi Watanabe/Getty Images
  • The researchers reviewed studies to describe the The most common symptoms of six cardiovascular diseases.
  • They found that symptoms vary between men and women, as well as over time.
  • They concluded that symptom tracking is crucial to patient care and outcomes.

According to the World Health Organization, about 32% of deaths worldwide are related to cardiovascular (CV) disease.

CV disease research typically focuses on major adverse CV events, including hospitalization, rather than symptoms.

Describing the symptoms of various CV conditions could aid clinicians in diagnosis and treatment.

Recently, researchers reviewed studies highlighting symptoms of the following six cardiovascular diseases:

They found the most common symptoms in each condition and that these symptoms can vary between men and women and over time.

The study was published in the journal Traffic.

A heart attack is characterized by a sudden loss of blood flow to the heart. Researchers noted that the most common symptom of heart attack is chest pain, which can radiate to the jaw, shoulders, arms or upper back.

Common Concomitant Symptoms to understand:

  • dyspnea or difficulty breathing
  • diaphoresis
  • unusual tiredness
  • nausea
  • stunning

A study found that women are more likely to experience nausea, shoulder pain, upper back pain, and more symptoms than men.

Women are also prone to heart attacks on average 7 years later than men. The researchers further noted that younger people who experience a heart attack are more likely to be male, smoke and have a family history of premature cardiovascular disease.

Heart failure is a chronic disease in which the heart gradually loses its ability to pump blood throughout the body.

The researchers noted that shortness of breath, known as dyspnea, is a hallmark of heart failure, and increased dyspnea is one of the most common reasons why adults with heart failure cardiac seek hospitalization.

They added, however, that some patients with heart failure may experience symptoms unrelated to heart failure. causes dyspnoea, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Older people tend to perceive dyspnea less than younger adults.

Fatigue is also a common symptom of heart failure. It may promote exercise intolerance, especially when it occurs with dyspnea.

Together, these symptoms can lead to cachexia – wasting of muscle and loss of body fat – which may indicate progression of heart failure to later stages.

Other symptoms include:

  • insomnia
  • pain
  • mood disorders
  • Cognitive dysfunction

Researchers Noted that women with heart failure tend to have more physical symptoms than men with the disease, as well as higher levels of depression and anxiety and a lower quality of life.

Women are also more likely than men to report:

Valvular heart disease occurs when the valves of the heart are damaged. This can happen in different ways:

  • Stenosis: the narrowing or stiffening of the valves
  • Prolapse: valves that do not close properly and thus allow blood to flow back
  • Atresia: malformed valves

People may have no symptoms in the early stages of valve disease. However, as the disease progresses, it can lead to heart failure and therefore have many of the same symptoms.

The disease can also cause high blood pressure in the lungs, known as pulmonary hypertension.

Symptoms differ between men and women. Women tend to report dyspnea and exercise intolerance more often than men as the stenosis progresses. Women are also more likely be more physically fragile. However, men are more likely to experience chest pain.

Stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or reduced. Acute symptoms of stroke often predict future disability and quality of life thereafter. Identify and respond to symptoms rapidly is essential for treatment.

Acronyms like FAST (face, arm, talk, time) draw attention to immediate symptoms, including:

  • weakness and numbness
  • speech problems
  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • loss of coordination/balance
  • visual changes

The researchers noted that after a stroke, some acute symptoms may persist and improve with time or rehabilitation. At all stages of stroke recovery, approximately:

They noted that women are more likely than men to experience symptoms including headaches, altered mentality and coma/stupor.

Arrhythmia refers to an “irregular heartbeat”, also known as cardiac arrhythmia. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia and often manifests as palpitations.

Other common symptoms include:

  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness

Less common symptoms include:

  • chest pain
  • feeling faint or sudden loss of blood pressure
  • anxiety

Psychological distress can to get worse severity of symptoms.

Symptoms of AF are often mistakenly attributed to stress, drowsiness, or the effects of bed rest or a sedentary lifestyle leading to delays to see a doctor for a week or more.

While women and young people with AF typically experience palpitations, men are more often asymptomatic. Older people are also more likely to be asymptomatic or present with non-classical symptoms.

Other to research suggests that while non-Hispanic black people have a lower risk of AF, black patients have more palpitations, exercise intolerance, and dizziness than white or Hispanic patients.

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) affects the arteries in the lower limbs and causes reduced blood supply to the legs. People can be asymptomatic.

However, common symptoms include:

Women with PAD are more likely to be asymptomatic or have classic symptoms. The researchers noted that the attribution of symptoms in women is complicated by comorbid musculoskeletal disorders such as osteoarthritis and a mistaken belief that PAD is more common in men.

The researchers also noted that women with PAD tend to live faster decline, poorer quality of life and higher burden of depression.

When asked why men and women may experience different symptoms for cardiovascular disease, Dr Corrine Jürgensassociate professor at Boston College School of Nursing, one of the study’s authors, said Medical News Today:

“The heart of women [are] smaller than the heart of men and smaller in proportion to the width of the chest. These differences may be useful in explaining gender differences in symptoms in conditions such as heart failure. In heart failure, there are differences in etiology (origins of the disease) and type – more women than men suffer from heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.

“Therefore, differences in etiology and type of heart failure may account for gender differences in symptoms,” she added.

“Women are typically diagnosed later in the course of the disease and are potentially further along in the disease trajectory. Women are also likely to have an increased burden of comorbid conditions with later diagnosis. Therefore, symptoms in women may cause a greater burden than in men.
—Dr. Corrine Jurgens

The researchers concluded that CV symptoms are not static and can vary in occurrence and severity over time.

Asked about the limitations of the symptoms described in the review, Dr Jurgens said: “It is important to understand that symptoms frequently occur in clusters, so it is important to track and report all symptoms, whether you suspect or not that they are important or related. . For example, many people don’t consider “fatigue” to be a symptom. »

Silent symptoms

“Symptoms can be insidious. However, if you are increasingly tired and unable to do your usual activities – in heart failure related to shortness of breath, for example, this may indicate a slowly worsening heart failure condition. If caught early, hospitalization can be avoided.
—Dr. Corrine Jurgens

“Symptoms are of fundamental importance not only for the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease and the assessment of response to medical treatment, but also directly for the daily life of patients,” she concluded.