Heart attacks claim as many lives of younger women as breast cancer, yet victims often fail to recognise their symptoms, doctors have warned.
Researchers in the US conducted a pilot study of 24 women aged 55 and under who had been admitted to hospital after suffering heart attacks.
Nearly all the women had suffered the typical heart attack symptom of chest pain, yet only 42 per cent realised anything was wrong with their hearts.
Younger women who experienced heart symptoms should be persistent with their doctors, advised study leader Dr Judith Lichtman, from the Yale School of Medicine. This was especially the case if they had risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, smoking, inactivity and a family history of heart disease.
“These findings are worrying, as half of people with Type 2 diabetes already show signs of cardiovascular disease at the time of diagnosis," said Simon O’Neill, Director of Care, Information and Advocacy Services at Diabetes UK.
"Heart disease is the most common complication of diabetes. It is essential we take immediate steps to ensure people have access to the appropriate care and treatment. We want to see better information for the newly diagnosed as well as improved access to education courses and dietary and lifestyle advice.”