Why heart attacks kill more women than men

Heart disease is the leading cause of death of adults worldwide — and that’s even truer for women.

Women are more likely to die from heart failure than men, according to new research out of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

“There are known sex-based differences in the risk factors, presentation and management of heart disease,” the study authors write in their paper, published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Looking at data from 90,000 heart failure patients between 2009 and 2014, researchers found that 16.8 percent of women died within a year of diagnosis, compared with just 14.9 percent of men.

Scientists also found that the female patients were generally “older and frailer” than their male counterparts. (A Harvard report says that the average age of a first heart attack for a woman is 72, compared with 65 for men.)

These results are just the latest example of how heart disease affects women differently than men.

According to another Harvard report, heart disease has killed more women than men every year since 1984. Researchers have guessed that the higher death rates have to do with women having heart attacks at an older age than men.

Harvard Medical School also revealed that women are more likely than men to develop “small vessel disease,” where “blockages occur in the tiny vessels within the heart muscle rather than in the large, surface arteries, which are harder to detect.”

The Ottawa study authors hope their work will drive further studies “on sex differences in health-seeking behavior, medical therapy and response to therapy to improve outcomes in women.”

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