Serious as a heart attack

Women are more likely to die while hospitalized for heart attacks.

Published October 17, 2006 1:27PM (EDT)

Some depressing medical news to kick off the day: Women are more likely than men to die while hospitalized after a heart attack.

According to a study published in the European Heart Journal, gender does not impact long-term survival after a heart attack, but in the short term, being female is a bitch.

Scientists followed 5,477 high-risk heart attack patients for an average of 2.7 years. During hospitalization, the death rate for women was 57 percent higher than it was for men.

The study didn't uncover the reasons for this disparity, concluding that the higher post-heart attack death risk could be attributed either to some gender-based difference in heart function or to the quality of medical treatment the women received. Women often don't show the same kinds of symptoms of heart attack that men do, and thus are not always treated as promptly as their male peers. And then there's the fact, uncovered by researchers, that women whose heart attacks are identified and treated are treated less aggressively than men in the same condition.

Perhaps the moral of the story is: Stop smoking, exercise, eat your omega-3's and do whatever else you can to protect your heart now.

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

MORE FROM Rebecca Traister

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Broadsheet Love And Sex