Cardiovascular diseases are no longer reserved to men. On the contrary, women are more exposed because less well diagnosed. In question, disregard the symptoms of myocardial which do not manifest in the same way as men. The French Federation of Cardiology (FFC) broadcasts an information spot on the internet.
In France, cardiovascular disease (myocardial and cerebral vascular accident), are the leading cause of death among women. The last fifteen years, the number of heart attacks has tripled among women under 50 years. On the occasion of World Day of the heart on 29 September, the French Federation of Cardiology (FFC) alert on the symptoms, less known, myocardial among women, especially via a video posted on the internet.
A heart attack is what?
Myocardial infarction occurs when one of the coronary arteries of the heart is blocked by a blood clot or a plate of fat and cholesterol. “Part of the heart muscle is no longer supplied with oxygen,” explains Professor Hervé Le Breton, head of interventional cardiology unit at the University Hospital of Rennes.
The artery must be reopened quickly. “The management should take place, ideally within two hours of the first signs, within a maximum of twelve hours. ”
The classic symptoms
The common sign to men and women is usually “severe chest pain, very sharp.” Sometimes the pain radiates to the jaw and arms. “People have the impression of being as tight in a vice,” adds Hervé Le Breton.
Nausea, shortness of breath, fatigue …
In nearly half the cases, women do not experience these classic symptoms. “The location of the pain can be lower, in the abdominal region and can lead to vomiting. The patient will be directed to the digestive emergencies rather than heart and diagnosis will be delayed. The consequences are serious. We observed excess mortality among women treated at the hospital, “said Prof Le Breton.
In the absence of the usual symptoms, the actual risk is often misdiagnosed. According to a British study published in European Heart Journal, women have more than 40% likely to be misdiagnosed as compared to men. But in these cases, time is precious, especially since “women’s arteries are more difficult to revascularization, thinner and more fragile than men,” says Professor Claire Mounier-Véhier who chairs the FFC. Their chances of survival are reduced.
In addition to vomiting and nausea, women “should alert atypical face the following signs: the feeling of exhaustion, shortness of breath on exertion,” says the FFC. “These atypical symptoms contribute to a belated support for women during a heart attack,” adds Prof. Claire Mounier-Véhier.
Most of the time, women play down these symptoms, mistakenly associate them with fatigue, stress. The FCC noted that they arrive in the emergency an hour later than men. Professor Le Breton insisted: “Do not delay calling the 15 directly. ”
Even young women
Contrary to the myth that women are protected from heart disease until menopause by their hormones, they are affected in reality increasingly young. Myocardial hospitalizations increased 4.8% per year between 2009 and 2013 for women 45 to 54 years, according to a study by the Institute of Health Surveillance (InVS), published in March.
The lifestyle of young women has evolved, with the adoption of the same risk behaviors than men, including smoking, says the president of the French Federation of Cardiology.
For Claire Mounier-Véhier, this is explained by the fact that “the lifestyle of young women has evolved, with the adoption of the same risk behaviors than men.” Infarctions and strokes are favored by an increase in smoking, obesity and physical inactivity. “Other cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, high cholesterol and family history should encourage young women to think they can do a heart,” insists Professor Hervé Le Breton ..