Men, Women and Chest Pain

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Story Updated: Sep 19, 2013

Chest pain is the most common symptom of heart attack and other acute coronary syndromes, but a significant number of cardiac patients, especially women, report to the hospital without it. That's the conclusion of a new study out of Canada. The researchers looked at gender differences in younger patients, 55 and under, who received medical care for heart attacks and unstable angina. More than 80 percent of both sexes complained of chest pain, but a much higher proportion of women than men presented without it. In fact, 19 percent, or nearly one in five women did not report chest pain compared to just 13.7% of men. The most common non-chest pain symptoms -- in all patients -- were weakness, feeling hot, shortness of breath. cold sweat and pain in the left arm or shoulder. The reason for gender differences is unclear, according to the researchers. They say health care providers need to evaluate all symptoms and should remain suspicious of ACS even when patients, especially women, do not have chest pain.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the news doctors are reading health news that matters to you.

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