At the still tender age of 49, Joanne Maglaras had a heart attack. She had been dealing with her full-time job and a husband who had lost his own job. The pair also have four children trying to survive high school and college.
Now 54, She tells, “Stress is tough and mothers always worry about their children no matter how old they are, and it was a tough time when my husband lost his job. I didn’t know what was in store for me. Physically, I’m just not the same person I was.”
This type of cumulative stress might explain why more young women than men suffer heart attack.
And it is largely the reason for the Yale Medical School development of the Variation in Recovery: Role of Gender on Outcomes of Young Patients study.
Lead study author Xiao Xu, PhD, describes the study: “VIRGO was an ideal opportunity to look at a younger population in terms of heart attack recovery and differences in men and women after a heart attack,”
The Yale University assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences continues, “What our study found was a significantly higher level of mental stress in younger women with heart attack compared to their male counterparts.”
Dr. Zainab Samad, from Duke University comments, “This study revealed that mental stress affects the cardiovascular health of men and women differently,” The lead study author goes on to say, “We need to recognize this difference when evaluating and treating patients for cardiovascular disease.”
“It’s important for doctors to pick this up and assess every patient they see,” she contends. “We see that younger women in general take a longer time to recover from heart attack, and this study tells us maybe we’re not looking at the whole picture including, their heart health.”