Heart Attacks and Strokes: Women vs. Men
Heart attacks and strokes aren’t sexist. Together they kill nearly a quarter million American men and women each year. But the way women experience these cardiovascular emergencies is different, from how they are diagnosed and treated to their outlook for survival. Here’s a breakdown on how women vary:
Most heart attacks and strokes in men and women happen when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel leading to either the heart or the brain. A process called atherosclerosis, the slow narrowing of the arteries from a buildup of plaque, is usually to blame. When a piece of plaque breaks off, a blood clots forms around it, blocking blood flow. Deprived of blood and oxygen the heart or brain tissue begins to die. Clots can also come from the heart in patients with atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart rhythm that often has no symptoms until a stroke occurs.
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