The combination of all heart conditions is the number one killer among both genders! A Gender Gap is a term which is used to point out differences between males and females. The life of a male and a female is completely different, they look differently, behave differently, have different roles in life and also their risk rates for certain diseases are different.
In this article, we discuss the Gender Gap within the topic of heart health, more specifically Heart Attacs and Sudden Cardiac Arrests.
The Gender Gap and Heart Attack:
There is a common misconception, that women are protected against all heart conditions by the beneficial effect of hormones. For any believer of this statement, it might come as a surprise that the occurrence of Heart Attacks is fairly similar among both genders.
On average, in both genders, 1 in every 3 deaths are caused by a heart attack.
What is the difference then? Here we present you with latest findings which suggest the Gender Gap within the risk rates of Heart Attacks:
- Females are less likely to survive a heart attack.
- 47% of women who had suffered a heart attack will die, develop a heart failure or stroke within 5 years, compared to 36% of men.
- In the past two decades, the number of deaths from Heart Disease in midlife women increased, while in midlife men it decreased.
- Pre-menopausal women are at a lower risk of suffering from a heart attack when compared to men at the same age.
At younger ages, males have a greater risk of having a heart attack. This fact is usually linked to the fact that men tend to lead a more unhealthy lifestyle, smoke and care less about a healthy diet. Most of the female heart attack cases at a younger age are associated with smoking.
This changes, after females hit menopause! The risk of a heart attack then significantly increases. A few studies suggested a strong connection between female hormones and heart health. Estrogen is the main female hormone, which levels decrease with age. The stage when the levels of Estrogen drop below a certain level is called menopause.
Estrogen has many important regulatory functions within the male and female body. One of them is to constantly dilate blood vessels to ensure proper blood flow.
This function may be significantly compromised when a female is undergoing menopause which puts her at a greater risk of a heart attack. In addition, menopause is often accompanied by weight gain which further increases the risk.
A study, which looked at the average length of time that people waited before seeking help after experiencing signs and symptoms of a heart attack showed that women tend to wait 54 hours, while men only wait 16 hours before taking action.
Various studies have shown that females tend to experience more of the atypical heart attack signs and symptoms.
The gender Gap and Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)
The information on ‘Gender Gap’ and SCA is limited and quite tricky. We present you with the latest findings:
- Males are almost twice as likely to experience Sudden Cardiac Arrest than females.
- Females who do suffer from an SCA tend not to respond well to treatment and have a smaller chance of survival.
- Females within the 15-45 age range have a higher survival rate. This is most likely linked to the protective effect of hormones (discussed earlier).
- Males tend to suffer from an unexplained SCA more often than females, who are more likely to suffer from additional health problems such as high blood pressure, obesity or other when experiencing an SCA.
- In both genders, SCA happens without any warning and generally can happen at any age.
Are you a believer of the Gender Gap in Heart Health? Let us know in the comments!
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