Why Women are More Likely to Die of a Heart Attack than Men

Quick: Picture a person having a heart attack.

What image came to mind? A middle-aged man clutching his chest? That is the image most of us have of the average heart attack.

Yet cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, will kill six times as many women this year as it will men. Moreover, women, while less likely to have a heart attack than men, are also are less likely to survive one than men.

Why the disparity?

For one thing, women are more likely than men to have “atypical” heart attack symptoms. For example, while chest pain or pressure is the classic symptom of a heart attack, one study found that nearly half of women having a heart attack had no chest pain at all. Instead, these women reported only fatigue and shortness of breath.

In addition, because symptoms of heart attack in women are less known, women often wait longer than men to seek care. One study found the average time it took for a man to seek treatment for a heart attack was 16 hours. In a woman it was 54 hours.

And that can make all the difference. With heart attacks, time is of the essence. Eighty-five percent of the damage of a heart attack occurs within the first two hours.

For these reasons, everyone needs to be aware of the symptoms associated with heart attacks — both in men and in women.

Heart Attack Symptoms Common in Both Men and Women

  1. pain or discomfort in the chest
  2. pain in shoulders, neck, arm, or jaw
  3. sweating
  4. shortness of breath, which might lead to loss of consciousness
  5. feelings similar to heartburn or indigestion
  6. nausea or vomiting

Heart Attack Symptoms More Common in Men

  1. Chest pressure described as being like “an elephant sitting on my chest”
  2. Pain or discomfort on the right side of the chest

Heart Attack Symptoms More Common in Women

  1. Unexplained weakness or fatigue, which may last for several days
  2. Sleep disturbances
  3. Anxiety
  4. Throat discomfort 

The most important thing to remember, however, is that every heart attack is unique. Anyone experiencing any heart attack symptom — whether it is “typical” or not —should call 911 immediately and go to the hospital.

Regency Jewish has partnered with the area's leading cardiologists and pulmonologists to create the NJ Heart and Lung Center™, a program that:   

  • Reduces hospital readmissions and patient length of stay
  • Maximizes ability for patient to regain ADL skills and independence
  • Offers 24/7/365 physician coverage through on-site staff and advanced telemedicine program
  • Has an on-site sleep study program to unlock Medicare benefit for Bipap utilization upon discharge
  • Offers STAT availability of Labs, X-Ray and other diagnostic tools

Our Outcomes & Capabilities include: 

  • Individualized planning for every patient
  • Cardiologist and pulmonologist on site daily for immediate intervention
  • Specialized rehab & nursing protocols developed in partnership with leading cardiologists & pulmonologists
  • A plan proven to prevent readmission to the hospital and improve patient independence and functionality
  • Regular Communication Between Patient, Family, Staff & Physicians
  • Collaborative care planning with other physician & therapy specialists
  • Advanced staff education & training
  • Transitional care nurse & enhanced discharge-to-home process
  • Follow-up home visit within 24-48 hours
  • Educational material provided to patients & families

Regency prides itself on offering the very best of care in a patient-centered environment. This means always listening to our residents and patients and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence. And always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.   Contact us by clicking here.



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Are you interested in The NJ Heart and Lung Center for yourself or someone you love? A member of our team will be happy to answer your questions and schedule an on-site tour. Of course, you can also call us anytime.

The NJ Heart and Lung Center at Regency Jewish Heritage
380 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ 08873
(732) 873-2000
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The NJ Heart and Lung Center at Regency Gardens
296 Hamburg Turnpike, Wayne, NJ 07470
(973) 790-5800
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