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Many Women Ignore Signs of Heart Trouble

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Many Women Ignore Signs of Heart Trouble

Study finds they’re more likely than men to delay seeking medical help

When it comes to heart disease, a new study says, women are more likely than men to delay care.

“The main danger is that when someone comes to the hospital with a more severe or advanced stage of heart disease, there are simply fewer treatment options available,” said study author Catherine Kreatsoulas, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Researchers in this study talked to patients who sought medical care for angina (chest pain) and were waiting to undergo tests looking for signs of coronary artery disease. They found men acted more quickly when they developed symptoms and spent less time dismissing them as not important enough to require immediate care.

“Women displayed more of an optimistic bias, feeling that the symptoms would pass and get better on their own,” Kreatsoulas said. “When women feel even a small improvement in symptoms, they seem to dismiss them for a longer period of time.”

This study backs up earlier research that suggests women are more likely to worry about being unable to care for others due to their own medical treatment, “and not necessarily as concerned about the best treatment options,” Kreatsoulas said.

These findings are important because heart disease, once considered a man’s disease, kills one woman every minute. Black women suffer rates of heart disease that are twice as high as those among white women. We also die from it more often than all other Americans.

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BHM Edit Staff