With the number of heart issues found in the population of our country, there are a number of factors and differences between different groups and subsets. The differences between men and women and how their hearts function, or don’t, is of particular interest and is important to take note of for our patients to make the best decisions about their own health.
Men Heart Strengths
It’s unfortunate to say, and hopefully this will level off as we become more aware of issues like this, but men have the benefit of more research because of their increased inclusion in clinical trials in relation to heart conditions. This gives them an edge in both the diagnostic and treatment process. More information is helpful in any medical scenario. Anatomically, a man’s heart is generally larger making it easier to spot issues and easier to work on if surgical repair or intervention is needed.
Men Heart Weaknesses
Men are much more likely to have heart attacks at an earlier age than women. According to Harvard Health, the average age for the first heart attack for men is 65, compared to 72 for women. Several sources site many men participating in dietary and lifestyle choices that increase their risk for developing heart disease. Because of the nature of the heart attacks experienced by men, they are more likely to experience tissue damage in their heart.
Women Heart Strengths
Up until menopause, a woman has a natural advantage in heart health because of the presence of the hormone estrogen. This hormone does a fair amount in protecting the heart in addition to a number of different functions. HDL, a form of “good” cholesterol, is also higher before menopause which factors into a decreased chance of experiencing a heart attack. Another strength is that women frequently begin experiencing subtle symptoms of a heart attack for a week or more prior to the event itself. However, because these symptoms are less known, they are often attributed to other conditions. By raising awareness of these symptoms, life saving time can be acquired by patients and their medical teams.
Women Heart Weaknesses
While women don’t usually face a heart attack until later in life, their survival rate is lower than men and are much more likely to develop heart failure or suffer from a stroke than their male counterparts. An additional study from Harvard Health found that “compared with men, women were less likely to receive potentially beneficial medications such as aspirin and cholesterol-lowering drugs, or to receive advice about quitting smoking.” This points to women needing additional care and education about how to care for their heart in order for them to feel empowered to advocate for themselves during this disparity. Complications during pregnancy, like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia are associated with increased heart issues and conditions.
In both men and women, heart disease is the number one cause of death leading us to urge each of our patients and their families to take steps to care for their heart and overall health today. Additionally, both men and women are just as likely to ignore simple ways to improve their heart health and are just as likely to develop additional factors which influence their heart’s ability to function.
Integrity Urgent Care Clinic is prepared to serve you, both men and women in one of our several locations. Providing care far beyond health concerns, we can help treat you and your family or provide the reference point you need to evaluate if you need additional care. Come see us any day of the week from 8am to 8pm, or contact us today.