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December 8, 2009
When contrasting all men with all women who are admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis of a heart attack, women are generally much older and have more comorbidities, or additional illnesses, than men. That's the major reason for the sex difference overall.
When comparing age-matched men and women, the differences are minimal among older adults (ages 70 and over); younger women, meanwhile, fare much more poorly than men. The reasons include differences in the symptoms of a heart attack—i.e., men are much more likely to experience chest pain and what many of us learn about in CPR, whereas women have a wider, more diffuse range of symptoms, including indigestion and pain radiating in other areas of the body. These signs are less readily recognized by both the patient and the medical professional as a heart attack. Thus a woman often does not call 911 or head to the emergency room as quickly as a man, and a physician is more likely to send a woman off from a clinic visit without appropriate treatment.
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December 7, 2009
My brother is 28, doesn't smoke, is vegetarian, and has normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels. But from his late teens until now, he has had a diet rich in fats, and he is about 30 pounds overweight. Is he at risk?
Your brother is headed for diabetes, and his risk of a future heart attack and stroke will continue to climb. He needs to try to increase the fruits, vegetables, and fiber in his diet and cut back on the amount of saturated and trans fats as well as total calories. Better dietary and exercise habits are the cornerstones of prevention. It is never too late to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease or diabetes.