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Format: 04/19/2014
Format: 04/19/2014


KDKA-TV: More middle-aged women suffering heart attacks

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

For people between 35 and 54, heart attack and stroke are relatively uncommon. 

But a study in the "Archives of Internal Medicine" shows an increase, especially among women.

Middle-aged women have typically had a lower risk of heart attack and stroke compared to men of the same age, but this recent study is raising the question of whether heart disease and heart attack are becoming more common for these women.

"In the hospital we are seeing more younger women coming in with heart attacks, so in that regard it's not surprising," says Dr. Indu Poornima, the director of the Women's Heart Center at Allegheny General Hospital. "But for the statistics purposes, it is a surprising fact, because until now we believed that middle age women were really not at as much risk as a middle aged man."

Researchers looked at the heart attack risk in more than 4,000 people from 1988 to 1994 and another 4,000 from 1999 to 2004. In both time periods, men had more heart attacks and stroke, but the gap narrowed in the more recent sample.

For having hearts attacks, men improved from 2.5 percent to 2.2 percent. But with an increase from 0.7 percent to 1.0 percent, women worsened.

"Going from 0.7 to one percent when you look at several millions of women is a big number," says Dr. Poornima.

Dr. Poornima says young women should pay attention to their family history of heart disease and to blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol -- elements that make up the Framingham risk score for heart disease.

To read more or see the video, visit the KDKA-TV web site.

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