We already know that younger women have a more difficult time recovering after a heart attack. A new study shows that stress may be a key reason.
Although 35,000 women under age 65 experience a heart attack each year in the United States, there’s limited data on their recovery and the factors that affect it.
Researchers at Yale University compared data from 2,397 female and 1,175 male heart attack survivors between ages 18 and 55 years old in the U.S., Spain, and Australia.
During their initial hospital stays for heart attack, researchers measured patients’ perceived stress using a 14-item scale that gauged their life experiences in the past month.
Women fared worse one month after heart attack on multiple measures such as chest pain-related physical function and quality of life as well as overall health. The researchers also discovered that the women felt they were under a significantly higher stress load.
Mental stress can cause coronary vessels to tense, slowing blood flow to the heart.
This study shows that more must be done to ease the cares of these women when they are being treated for heart attacks.