Like so many women around the world, women in India often put their own health at the bottom of their priority lists, including their heart health. In fact, a damning statistic from the World Health Organization indicates that around 1.7 million deaths among women are caused by cardiovascular disease (CVD) in India every year.
When it comes to the warning signs of heart attacks, women may experience more subtle symptoms such as extreme fatigue, nausea, or dizziness. They might minimize these symptoms and attribute them to the flu or acid reflux when something much more serious happens.
That’s why clinicians are turning to innovative medical technologies to help detect heart attacks in women earlier. For example, if doctors suspect a heart attack, they often do a blood test to measure troponin proteins in the blood. These proteins are released by the body when the heart muscle has been damaged; the more damaged the heart, the more troponin is in the blood.
Troponin protein levels are generally lower in women than in men, which may mask serious heart disease or delay treatment. Because troponin levels guide physicians in treatment decisions, lower levels could contribute to less aggressive heart attack treatment for women.
Today, doctors can use advanced diagnostic tools like Abbott’s high-sensitivity troponin I blood test to detect very low levels of troponin. Research suggests that a simple blood test could double the diagnosis of heart attack in women.
The results of a survey of nearly 600 cardiologists in India indicated that 83 percent of women were unaware of heart disease, although more than half of doctors reported an increase from 16 to 20 for percent of cardiovascular disease in women.
Women have a higher prevalence of risk factors and are often undertreated after a heart attack, which could lead to lower survival rates. As today marks World Heart Day, it’s an important reminder for women to educate themselves about heart issues, especially when it comes to heart attacks.
Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack:
- Chest pain or discomfort that usually lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back; it may sound like pressure, squeezing, fullness, pain, heartburn, or indigestion
- Upper body discomfort which may be in one or both arms, back, shoulders, neck, jaw, or upper stomach
- Shortness of breath, which may be the only symptom, or it may occur before or with chest pain or discomfort
- Have a cold sweat
- Nausea and vomiting
- If you or someone you know has any of these symptoms, it is essential that you get an immediate medical assessment.