HealthDay News — When it comes to heart disease, women are more likely to delay care when they experience symptoms, findings presented at the annual Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, held from Oct. 25 to 28 in Vancouver indicate.

“The main danger is that when someone comes to the hospital with a more severe or advanced stage of heart disease, there are simply fewer treatment options available,” said Catherine Kreatsoulas, PhD, of Harvard University in Boston, in a news release from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

To explore how patients perceived their heart symptoms and at what stage they were prompted to seek medical care, the investigators conducted a two party study involving patients who sought medical care for angina and were waiting to undergo angiogram tests to look for signs of coronary artery disease.

Compared with women, men acted more quickly when they developed symptoms, reported the researchers. Men also spent less time denying the symptoms existed or dismissing them as not important enough to require immediate care.

“Women displayed more of an optimistic bias, feeling that the symptoms would pass and get better on their own,” explained Kreatsoulas.

“When women feel even a small improvement in symptoms, they seem to dismiss them for a longer period of time.” Previous research suggests that women are more likely to worry about being out of commission due to medical care, “and not necessarily as concerned about the best treatment options,” added Kreatsoulas.