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Why you should learn about SCAD, the primary cause of heart attacks in women under 50

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Why you should learn about SCAD, the primary cause of heart attacks in women under 50

If someone asked you to picture someone having a heart attack, it’s unlikely that you’re imagining a 35 year old woman. 

Every year, an estimated 445,000 U.S. women 35 and older will experience a new heart attack, recurrent heart attack, or fatal outcome of coronary heart disease. One of the major causes of heart attacks in women is SCAD, or spontaneous coronary artery dissection. SCAD affects men and women, but women are estimated to be 90% of those impacted. The condition occurs when there is a tear in the artery wall that causes its inner layers to swell with blood, leading to a heart-related medical emergency.

One of the strangest things about SCAD is that it impacts otherwise relatively healthy women between the ages of in their 40s and 50s. Women with SCAD generally don’t have other risk factors related to heart attacks, like high blood pressure diabetes. Instead, potential risk factors for SCAD include chronic stress, depression, anxiety, and fibromuscular dysplasia. Although SCAD is relatively rare, it’s important to be mindful of any potential heart attack symptoms – no matter your age. To learn more about SCAD and how it affects women, read this article on Self.