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Study: Young Women With Heart Attack Fare Worse Than Men

Yale researchers call for more aggressive control of cardiovascular risk factors

While awareness campaigns may be getting women to go to the hospital more quickly during a heart attack, a new look at hospital data shows that women have longer hospital stays and are more likely than men to die in the hospital after a heart attack.

In the new study, published online July 21 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers at the Yale School of Medicine reviewed 230,684 hospitalizations for heart attack in patients 30 to 54 years of age from a total of 1.1 million hospitalizations reported in a national database from 2001 to 2010.

The study found that heart attack hospitalization rates for patients under the age of 55 have not declined as quickly as they have for Medicare-age patients, who have seen a 20% drop.

“This trend suggests we need to raise awareness of the importance of controlling cardiovascular risk factors, like diabetes, high blood pressure, and smoking, in younger patients," said lead author Aakriti Gupta, MD.

All of the patient groups in the study showed increases in coexisting medical conditions, including hypertension and diabetes. Men were more likely to have high cholesterol levels, whereas women, especially black women, were more likely also to have hypertension, diabetes, and heart failure.

The authors concluded that younger women may benefit from more aggressive control of modifiable cardiovascular risk factors, including early identification and treatment of hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, and diabetes.

“Younger women are a vulnerable yet understudied group with worse cardiac risk profiles and worse outcomes after a heart attack as compared with younger men,” Gupta said.

Source: Medical Xpress; July 21, 2014.

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