Different Heart Attack Signs In Men And Women
Heart attack symptoms can be different in men and women. Why does it matter? Women are less likely to seek immediate medical care and are more likely to die. Differences include:
- Men normally feel pain and numbness in the left arm or side of the chest, but in women, these symptoms may appear on the right side.
- Women may feel completely exhausted, drained, dizzy or nauseous.
- Women may feel upper back pain that travels up into the jaw.
- Women may think their stomach pain is the flu, heartburn or an ulcer.
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What Happens In Your Body During A Heart Attack
You hear about heart attacks all the time, but what actually happens during one?
Essentially, blood flows into the heart to provide oxygen so that the heart muscle can effectively do its job. During a heart attack, this blood flow is either cut off completely or severely reduced. This can be caused by arteries that are narrowed due to excess cholesterol.
In some cases, a cardiac catheterization is needed to determine the cause of a heart attack and the extent to which the arteries are blocked.
You can clearly see what happens during a heart attack through this video, courtesy of the American Heart Association.
What Are The Differences In Heart Attack Symptoms For Men And Women
Its a common misconception that men and women experience different symptoms when having a heart attack. While symptoms vary from person to person, there are no symptoms that women experience more or less often than men. Women are more likely to dismiss the idea that they may be having a heart attack and delay seeking medical attention. Its important to recognise the symptoms of a heart attack, take them seriously and act quickly to prevent damaging the heart muscle.
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Tips To Determine If The Left Arm Pain Is Heart Related
Your left arm can hurt for a number of reasons including overstrain or even injury, so how can you tell when it is related to the heart? The below tips will help you distinguish regular left arm pain and heart-related left arm pain.
Evaluate the quality of your pain: Pain will feel like pressure or squeezing in the chest, and vary in intensity. If this pain then moves to the left arm, that indicates it is a heart-related left arm pain.
Look for non-pain-related symptoms: Left arm pain that exists on its own is rarely caused by the heart. Looking for other non-pain-related symptoms can help you better determine if you are about to have a heart attack. These symptoms include nausea, lightheadedness or dizziness, cold sweating, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. If these non-pain symptoms coexist with your pain, you need to contact a doctor immediately.
Evaluating your pain: When evaluating your pain, its important to first note the duration of the pain. If the pain only lasts for a few seconds, it is quite unlikely that it is caused by the heart. If pain is persistent, lasting days or weeks, that is also an unlikely indicator of heart-related pain. Pain related to a heart attack will last for a few minutes or hours, and it may also reoccur in short intervals. Lastly, if pain in the left arm occurs only when you use the arm for physical activity, it is due to muscle issues, not heart.
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What Is Sleep Apnea And How Can It Affect My Heart
Sleep apnea is a common disorder that can be very serious. The Greek word “apnea” literally means “without breath.” Sleep apnea is characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep. These episodes usually last 10 seconds or more and occur repeatedly throughout the night. People with sleep apnea will partially awaken as they struggle to breathe, but in the morning they will not be aware of the disturbances in their sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep apnea affects more than 18 million Americans. Fortunately, it can be diagnosed and treated.
Each time a person stops breathing momentarily, as many as 60 times per hour, sleep apnea significantly lowers oxygen levels in the bloodstream and elevates nighttime blood pressure. In addition, these breathing interruptions cause the body to release very high levels of the stress hormone epinephrine. This “fight or flight” hormone not only disrupts sleep, but it puts a tremendous strain on the heart, blood vessels, and other organs.
Recent research findings revealed that early atherosclerosis – a condition in which fatty material deposited along artery walls hardens and may eventually block an artery – was found in 42- to 44-year-old predominately male patients who had severe obstructive sleep apnea but no overt cardiovascular disease.
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What Are The Early Signs Of A Heart Attack
There are heart attack symptoms in women that are different from heart attack symptoms in men. But the common signs and symptoms they usually share are as follows:
- Chest pain or discomfort: The discomfort usually lasts for more than a few minutes or it may go away and come back. The discomfort may feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain at the center of the chest.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body: This may include pain or discomfort in the back, jaw, stomach or in one or both arms.
- Shortness of breath: This may occur with, before or without chest pain or discomfort.
- Breaking out in a cold sweat
- Nausea or light-headedness
Meanwhile, heart attack symptoms in women sometimes go unnoticed. These include the following:
- Pressure, fullness, squeezing pain in the center of the chest, spreading to the neck, shoulder or jaw
- Unusual fatigue
- Treating or managing conditions that can be a risk factors of heart attack such as diabetes
Chest Pain And Heart Attack Symptoms
Chest pain is only one of the possible signs of an impending heart attack. If you notice one or more of the signs below in yourself or someone else, call 911 or your local emergency number right away.
Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, burning, tightness, or pain in the center of the chest
Pain, numbness, pinching, prickling, or other uncomfortable sensations in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach
Shortness of breath
Heat/flushing or a cold sweat
Sudden heaviness, weakness, or aching in one or both arms
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Recognizing A Heart Attack
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Catch The Signs Early
Dont wait to get help if you experience any of these heart attack warning signs. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense. But most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body and call 911 if you experience:
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or it may go away and then return. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. This can occur with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs. Other possible signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
Download the common heart attack warning signs infographic |
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What’s The Difference Between Angina And A Heart Attack
Angina is pain felt in your chest often caused by coronary heart disease. As the symptoms of angina are similar to a heart attack, its important to know how to distinguish between the two. If you havent been diagnosed with angina and you start experiencing chest pain that feels similar to the symptoms of a heart attack, phone 999 immediately.If you have angina and you start experiencing chest pain symptoms similar to a heart attack:
- sit down and rest
- use your glyceryl trinitrate spray that youve been prescribed
- if the pain still persists after a few minutes, take another dose of your spray
- if the pain doesnt go away a few minutes after your second dose, dial 999 immediately.
Chest Pain: Its Not Always A Matter Of The Heart
There are plenty of other potential suspects when it comes to chest pain.
Mild or severe discomfort in the middle or left side of the chest that feels like fullness, pressure or squeezing could be a potential sign of a cardiovascular event.Most people experience chest pain at some point, but how do you know if it is a heart attack or simply heartburn or anxiety?
Understanding the differences between cardiovascular events and other causes of chest pain can save you a trip to the emergency room. It is also important because the discomfort could be caused by other urgent conditions, as well as less serious issues that may point to a chronic medical problem.
When it comes to cardiovascular causes of chest pain, UAB Medicinecardiologist Gregory Chapman, M.D., says the usual suspects include coronary artery blockages, high blood pressure, and heart valve or rhythm disorders. But there are plenty of other potential suspects. Chapman included a chapter on chest pain diagnosis in his book A Strong and Steady Pulse: Cardiac Stories, which is scheduled for publication in 2021.
Take symptoms seriously
In the United States, nearly 6 percent of emergency room patients report chest pain. More than half of those cases involve non-cardiac chest pain, or NCCP, that is caused by heartburn, anxiety or other issues. A staggering 80 percent of patients who complain of chest pain during primary care visits are simply experiencing NCCP.
Gregory Chapman, M.D.Mimicking a heart attack
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What Are The Long Term Effects Of Vomiting
Purge vomiting can cause the esophagus to tear and become weak, which can then lead to a host of problems, including chronic acid reflux. Thanks to the stomach acids involved in acid reflux, the mucous membranes of the esophagus may eventually begin to erode, causing a condition known as Barretts esophagus.
How Can You Prevent A Heart Attack
To help prevent a heart attack, it is important to:
- Understand the risk factors and see a doctor for early diagnosis and early heart attack treatment
- Learn the signs and symptoms
- Know the differences in the way heart attacks occur in men and women
- Take the Early Heart Attack Care pledge to save a life
- Be alert for a heart attack in yourself or someone in your vicinity becoming an active bystander could save a life.
- When in doubt, call . First responders have the medical technology to quickly save a life.
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People Who Have These So
- a case of the flu, or
- they may think that they strained a muscle in their chest or their upper back.
- It also may not be discomfort in the chest, it may be in the jaw or the upper back or arms, she says.
Some folks have prolonged and excessive fatigue that is unexplained. Those are some of the less specific symptoms for a heart attack, but ones that people may ignore or attribute to something else.
Can Dentists Tell If You Have Bulimia
Erosion can drastically change the color, size and shape of your teeth. Excessive tooth erosion is one way your dentist could tell if a patient may be bulimic. Frequent vomiting can lead to sensitive teeth, dry mouth and red, cracked lips. All signs that your dentist is trained to recognize as side effects of bulimia.
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Get The Heart Care You Need When You Need It
Each year about 805,000 Americans have a heart attack, and about 655,000 die of heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means heart disease is responsible for one in every four deaths, making it the leading cause of death for both men and women.
Remember, if you think youre having a heart attack:
- Chew one adult-strength aspirin to help keep your blood from clotting.
- Stay on the phone with the emergency operator as you wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself to the hospital.
A heart attack can be a scary experience. But remember that were here for you, and comprehensive heart care and recovery options are never far away.
Causes Of A Silent Heart Attack In Women
A silent heart attack happens when the flow of blood is blocked in the coronary arteries by a build up of plaque. Studies differ, but some suggest that silent heart attacks are more common in women than in men.
Ekery points out that women and their physicians may also be more likely to chalk up symptoms of a silent heart attack to anxiety and dismiss them.
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Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection
SCAD is a type of heart attack that happens when the inner lining of a coronary artery tears for no clear reason, slowing or blocking blood flow down the artery.
SCAD can occur in otherwise healthy people who do not have the typical risk factors of heart disease. And according to an article in Clinical Cardiology , about 90% of SCADs happen to women between the age of 30 and 60.
What About Taking An Aspirin Like We See On Television
You should not delay calling 9-1-1 to take an aspirin. Studies have shown that people sometimes delay seeking help if they take an aspirin . In the hospital emergency room, staff will give people experiencing a heart attack an aspirin as soon as they arrive. The best thing to do is to call 9-1-1 immediately and let the professionals give the aspirin.
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What To Do If You Have Heart Attack Symptoms
Because certain symptoms, such as nausea or fatigue, can signal any number of health concerns, its important to be aware of other possible heart attack symptoms.
If you suddenly become nauseated and are having trouble catching your breath or you have serious jaw pain, call 911. Tell the 911 dispatcher you may be having a heart attack.
You may be reluctant to call 911 if youre not sure whether you or a loved one is having a heart attack, but its better to err on the side of caution.
A heart attack is often a life threatening emergency. The faster you get medical attention, the better chance you have of a good recovery.
When to call 911
Any time you have pain or pressure in your chest that lasts more than a few minutes and is different to pain youve felt before, its important to get medical attention as soon as possible. This is especially important if you have other symptoms, too, such as:
- shortness of breath
nearly a quarter of all heart attacks in the United States, according to the American Heart Association.
A silent heart attack may resolve on its own if, for example, the clot blocking blood flow dissolves or becomes dislodged and is absorbed into the body. But a silent heart attack can still cause damage.
If a doctor discovers that you had a silent heart attack, you may want to consider cardiac rehabilitation and the type of care that any other person whos had a heart attack receives.
What Are The Risk Factors For Heart Attack
Several health conditions, your lifestyle, and your age and family history can increase your risk for heart disease and heart attack. These are called risk factors. About half of all Americans have at least one of the three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking.2
Some risk factors cannot be controlled, such as your age or family history. But you can take steps to lower your risk by changing the factors you can control.
Learn more about risk factors for heart disease and heart attack.
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Describe Chest Pain To Your Doctor
Doctors use several pieces of information to determine who is, and who isn’t, having a heart attack. In addition to the description of your symptoms and your heart risk profile, doctors use the results of an electrocardiogram and a blood test called cardiac troponin. But sometimes these don’t immediately show abnormalities. So, what you describe to the doctor and your medical history are extremely important in determining the initial steps in your treatment.
Here are some things your doctors will want to know about what you are experiencing:
What is it that you are feeling ?
Where is the discomfort?
Has it gotten worse or stayed the same?
Is the feeling constant, or does it come and go?
Have you felt it before?
What were you doing before these feelings started?
Clear answers to these questions go a long way toward nailing down a diagnosis. A few seconds of recurrent stabbing pain is less likely to be a heart attack , while pain centered in the chest that spreads out to the left arm or jaw is more likely to be one.