Stress makes heart attack recovery worse in women

Washington, Feb 15: Young and middle-aged women experience more stress than their male counterparts which could contribute to worse recovery from heart attack, shows a new study. The difference in the level of stress may be an important reason for sex-based differences in recovery. Women tend to report greater stress and more stressful life events than men, potentially because of their different roles in family life and work, as compared to men, said first author Xiao Xu, assistant professor from Yale University. (Read: Heart attacks in women 7 symptoms you should be aware of)

The authors measured each patient's self-perceived psychological stress during the initial hospital stay. They used data from the Variation in Recovery: Role of Gender Outcomes on Young AMI (acute myocardial infarction) Patients (VIRGO) study. VIRGO studied patients aged 18 to 55 from 103 hospitals in the US, 24 in Spain and three in Australia from 2008 to 2012. (Read: Why women are at a greater risk of heart disease than men)

Participants were asked about the degree to which their life situations during the last month were unpredictable, uncontrollable and overloaded. Women were also more likely to have children or grandchildren living in their household while experiencing greater financial strain. This study is distinctive in focusing particularly on young women and going beyond traditional predictors of risk to reveal how the context of these people's lives influences their prognosis, said Harlan Krumholz, principal investigator of the VIRGO study. Helping patients develop positive attitudes and coping skills for stressful situations may not only improve their psychological well-being, but also help recovery after AMI, Xu said. The findings appeared in the journal Circulation. (Read: Heart disease prevention tips for women)

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Here are some tips to prevent heart attack in winter

  • Feeling of discomfort or uneasiness: It causes uncomfortable feeling such as squeezing of the heart, fullness or pain in the chest or pressure in the centre. Although the pain is occasional, the intensity might be mild to severe.
  • Pain in the upper body: Chest pain is common in both men and women, but sometimes pain and discomfort in other parts of the body is seen in women. These include pain in one or both the arms, neck, stomach (indigestion or acidity), back and/or jaw.
  • Difficulty in breathing: Shortness of breath is common in women experiencing a heart attack. This, in some cases, might be followed by a feeling of chest discomfort.
  • Other symptoms: Apart from the ones listed above, common heart attack symptoms in women include nausea, sweat and breaking out in cold. Read more about 9 expert tips to prevent heart attacks in the winter!

With inputs from IANS

Photo source: Getty images

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