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Married men seek heart attack treatment sooner

26 July, 2011

Men who are married or in relationships seek medical care sooner for heart attacks compared with single, divorced or widowed men, found a new study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

"This research gives married men even more reason to love their wives and with all of their heart," said Cameron Prout, Heart Foundation CEO.

The benefits of marriage on health, particularly for men, have long been known. However according to Heart Foundation research, women who were married or in common-law relationships, did not see the same benefit from marriage in seeking faster treatment.

"Unfortunately it seems that husbands aren't returning the favour, perhaps because most people don't realise that heart disease is also the number one killer of Australian women.

"Heart attacks kill almost exactly as many women as men so we urge women to be as vigilant about their own heart health as they are about their husband's, after all they've taken the vow to be there through 'sickness and in health.'

This research highlighted the importance of someone acting on behalf of a loved one to help them to seek medical care sooner when experiencing the warning signs of heart attacks."

The Heart Foundation wants to emphasise that even if it's a stranger that you think is experiencing a heart attack, it's okay to call Triple Zero (000).

"Half of all heart attack deaths occur before people reach hospital so every minute really does count and treatment starts the second you call Triple Zero (000).

"Heart attack warning signs aren't always what you think - symptoms are not necessarily sudden or severe and some people don't experience chest pain at all," Prout said.

The message is clear nobody has ever died of embarrassment but many people have died from heart attacks because they didn't get help fast enough.

"Married or single, people need to be aware of the warning signs of heart attack and act quickly!"

Australian heart attack stats (ABS, 2009)
5,194 Australian men and 5,141 women died of heart attacks in 2009 (about 14 a day)

Warning Signs of Heart Attack:

Heart attack warning signs may include pain, pressure, heaviness or tightness in one or more parts of the upper body (chest, neck, jaw, arm(s), shoulder(s) or back) in combination with other symptoms of nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness or a cold sweat.

For important information on recognising the warning signs of heart attack and to download your own action plan visit or call the Heart Foundation's Health Information Service on 1300 36 27 87.

Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal

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