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Women under 50 more at risk than men of suffering a fatal heart attack

Women aged under 50 are more at risk than men of suffering a fatal heart attack, new study suggests

  • Women under 50 who suffer heart attacks are more likely to die within 11 years 
  • Study found women were less likely to receive treatments and drugs in hospital
  • They were 60 per cent more likely to die than men in the same age bracket  

Women under 50 are more likely to die following a heart attack than men, a major study has found.

Experts have repeatedly warned that heart problems are seen as a ‘male disease’ with symptoms in women too often being dismissed.

This bias is even more pronounced when the patient is a younger female, according to the American study.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that women who have a heart attack under 50 are 60 per cent more likely to die over the next 11 years than male patients in the same age group.

Symptoms of heart problems in younger women are too often dismissed, experts have warned, as a study revealed women who suffer heart attacks under the age of 50 were 60 per cent more likely to die over the following 11 years than men in the same age bracket. File photo

Writing in the European Heart Journal, the scientists said female patients were less likely to receive vital treatments after being admitted to hospital.

These included proven procedures such as angiography or coronary vascularisation.

And when they were discharged they were less likely to receive standard drugs such as aspirin, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors and statins. 

The study tracked 404 women and 1,693 men who had a first heart attack between 2000 and 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.

It echoes the results of several major British studies that have found a similar disparity in the treatment of men and women following heart attacks. 

Professor Ron Blankstein, who led the study, said: ‘It’s important to note that overall most heart attacks in people under the age of 50 occur in men.

‘Only 19 per cent of the people in this study were women.

‘However, women who experience a heart attack at a young age often present with similar symptoms as men, are more likely to have diabetes, have lower socioeconomic status and ultimately are more likely to die in the longer term.’

The researchers stressed there were several biological reasons to explain some of the disparities.

The Harvard Medical School (pictured) study, revealed women were less likely to receive vital treatments, or even receive standard drugs, after being admitted to hospital

Women are more likely to suffer a spontaneous coronary artery dissection than men – a serious problem with blood vessels. They are also more likely to have single vessel disease – another problem with the arteries around the heart.

But the researchers concluded: ‘Women were less likely to undergo invasive coronary angiography.

‘This suggests that physician bias may exist in the evaluation and treatment of women and young women even more so.’

A study by the British Heart Foundation found at least two women died needlessly of a heart attack every day because they received worse care than men.

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