Women And Heart Attack Warning Signs
Women may experience any of the heart attack warning signs. However, they can sometimes experience heart attacks slightly differently to men:
- the pain is more likely to spread as far as the shoulders, neck, abdomen and even the back
- the pain may feel more like indigestion and not be consistent
- there may not be pain but unexplained anxiety, nausea, dizziness, palpitations and cold sweat
Women may also experience unexplained tiredness prior to developing other heart attack symptoms.
When Should I See My Doctor
If calling triple zero does not work on your mobile, try calling 112. Early treatment could save a life.
See your doctor regularly to manage your general health, test for heart disease risk factors and help you take steps to prevent a heart attack.
Womens Signs Of Heart Attack
The most common heart attack sign is chest pain or discomfort however, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure. They may experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue.
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Some People Have Muscle Aches During A Heart Attack
Although chest pain is “the most common presenting sign,” some people experience other pain, Dr. Stacey Rosen, cardiologist and senior vice president for the Katz Institute for Women’s Health at Northwell Health, told Insider.
Less common symptoms of a heart attack include muscle aches around the back and shoulders, indigestion or heartburn, fainting spells, and confusion, Rosen said.
According to a review of seven studies cited in the report on the early stages of acute coronary syndrome which is a group of conditions that heart attacks fall under early symptoms also include disturbed sleep, headaches, anxiety, and gastrointestinal problems.
What Should I Do If I Think Im Having A Heart Attack
The first thing you must do is dial 999 immediately for an ambulance. Dont worry if youre not completely sure whether your symptoms are a heart attack, its really important that you seek medical attention regardless as quickly as possible.
Next, you should:
- take a 300mg aspirin if you have one within arms reach
- stay calm and wait for the paramedics.
People often dismiss that theyre having a heart attack and will delay seeking medical attention. If youre with someone whos experiencing heart attack symptoms but theyre putting off or refusing to call an ambulance, its really important that you call one for them.
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Warning Signs Of A Heart Attack In Women
Heart attacks are often stereotyped as something that happens to older men, not women. But heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States.1 Yet only about half of women know this.1
Plus, the way women experience a heart attack can feel different from men. While both men and women may have chest pain during a heart attack, women tend to have symptoms in addition to chest pain.
Researchers found that when women have a heart attack, theyre more likely to experience 3 or more related symptoms compared to men.2 These symptoms may include jaw pain, neck pain, back pain, and shortness of breath, and can make it hard for women to tell if theyre having a heart attack.
Women are also more likely than men to think their heart attack symptoms are caused by anxiety and stress.2 Oftentimes, this misunderstanding combined with a wider range of symptoms can cause women to wait longer to get treated.
Several studies have shown that women wait longer to get treatment for a heart attack than men, says Mingsum Lee, MD, a clinical cardiologist at Kaiser Permanentes Los Angeles Medical Center.
So, its important to learn these symptoms of a heart attack and know when to seek care.
I Thought I Had The Flu
Even though heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, women often chalk up the symptoms to less life-threatening conditions like acid reflux, the flu or normal aging.
They do this because they are scared and because they put their families first, Goldberg said. There are still many women who are shocked that they could be having a heart attack.
A heart attack strikes someone about every 43 seconds. It occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This happens because the arteries that supply the heart with blood can slowly narrow from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances .
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Is A Cardiac Arrest The Same Thing As A Heart Attack
A cardiac arrest and a heart attack are both medical emergencies. However, they are not the same thing, and sometimes a heart attack can progress into a cardiac arrest.
During a cardiac arrest, the electrical system that controls your heart rate and rhythm stops working, and the heart stops beating.
When someone has a cardiac arrest, they experience different symptoms and receive different treatments to someone who has a heart attack.
Someone having a cardiac arrest will collapse and have no pulse. They may not breathe properly, or maybe not at all, and they will lose consciousness.
If someone has a cardiac arrest, they need help immediately. Call 000 for an ambulance. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, begin chest compressions , or use a device called a defibrillator, if available. Once the person gets to hospital, a medical team will treat them.
Early Symptoms Don’t Really Sound Like The Hollywood Heart Attack Experience Is That Typical
There are two main ways that people present with heart attacks, Dr. Xu says:
- Sudden A person may or may not have any symptoms previously, but all at once a plaque deposit ruptures, triggering a chain of events and a sudden heart attack.
- Gradual The other presentation happens slowly as coronary disease progresses. In this situation, an artery is getting narrower over time. When the artery is narrowed down to more than 70 percent, a person will start to have warning symptoms ahead of time, especially with physical exertion.
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Risk Factors For Heart Attack In Women
In addition to knowing key heart attack symptoms, its also important to know if you have risk factors for heart disease. Many women arent aware that theyre at risk for heart attack, explains Dr. Lee. So when they start having symptoms, they dont even consider that its a warning sign.
Common risk factors for women include:
- Certain medical conditions. Women are at higher risk for heart disease if they have diabetes, high blood pressure, or an inflammatory disease like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
- Pregnancy complications. Women who had pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, or preeclampsia are at higher risk for heart attack later in life.
- Smoking. Research shows that smoking can increase the risk of heart attack for young people by sevenfold.3 And female smokers are 25% more likely to have heart disease than male smokers.3
- Lifestyle choices. Poor diet, overuse of alcohol, and physical inactivity all increase a womans risk for heart attack.
- Menopause. Lower levels of estrogen after menopause can increase the risk of heart attack for women.
Understanding your risk factors and knowing common heart attack symptoms are important first steps in taking care of your heart. Another way you can prevent heart disease is to take preventive steps to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.
1 Women and Heart Disease, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cdc.gov, accessed December 14, 2021.
Heart Attack Testing: Faq
Q: Why do I have to submit to a bunch of tests?A: Tests help the doctor determine if a heart attack occurred, how much your heart was damaged and what degree of coronary artery disease you might have. The tests screen your heart and help the doctor determine what treatment and lifestyle changes will keep your heart healthy and prevent serious future medical events.
Q: Whats the difference between invasive and non-invasive tests?A: Non-invasive cardiac tests measure your hearts activity through external imaging and electrocardiography. Invasive tests include drawing and testing samples of your blood, and inserting and threading a thin hollow tube called a catheter into a blood vessel to get an inside view.
Q: How can I learn more about the tests that may be performed?A: These diagnostic tests and procedures can reveal if you had a heart attack, how much damage was done and what degree of coronary artery disease you have.
Q: What types of treatment will I get after the hospital diagnoses my heart attack?A: If youve had a heart attack, you may have already had undergone certain procedures to help you survive your heart attack. Those same procedures can help to diagnose your condition. Such procedures include:
Heart Attack Warning Signs
Heart attack is a leading cause of death in New Zealand. Learn to recognise the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack, so you know what to do if you see or experience them.
Minutes matter – if you think you are having a heart attack, call 111 now.
Too many New Zealanders die or live with permanent disability because of the lack of awareness of heart attack warning signs and delays in seeking medical help. Even if you have had a heart attack, you may experience another – and next time, the symptoms can be different
Early Warning Signs Of Heart Attack
According to the CDC, every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack. Around 805,000 people in the United States experience a heart attack each year, of which for 605,000 people it is their first heart attack. Despite its prevalence, about one in every five heart attacks is silent, meaning no one, including the person with the heart attack, knows that a heart attack took place. First, lets talk about how we can detect early warning signs of heart attack using remote patient monitoring.
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Early Signs Of A Heart Attack
Are your vague symptoms just fatigue or something serious? Learn the early warning signs that could signal a heart attack.
Sutter Medical Foundation
Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento
Many of us have experienced that moment. Perhaps were driving in traffic or working out at the gym when we feel a twinge in our chest, or an aggressive pulse. Or maybe we just dont feel right. We might pause at these moments and wonder if its time to hightail it the doctor or if this is normal.
The reality is people can notice subtle heart attack symptoms months before an actual event occurs, says Sutter Zi-Jian Xu, M.D., a cardiologist in the Sutter Health network.
Dr. Xu frequently discusses heart attack symptoms and prevention with his patients. Heres what you need to know.
Heart Attacks In Men Versus Women
Men may experience different signs of a heart attack from women. Why does it matter? Women are less likely to seek immediate medical care and are more likely to die from a heart attack.
- Men normally feel pain and numbness in the left arm or side of chest. 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 stomach pain is the flu, heartburn or an ulcer.
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Changing Your Lifestyle Can Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Attack
Dealing with the lifestyle factors that contribute to CVD, which you can change, can help reduce your risk of heart attack. Things you can do include:
- take medicines as prescribed
- eat plenty of vegetables, fruits and wholegrains
- eat a variety of healthy protein sources especially fish and seafood, legumes , nuts and seeds. Smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry can also be included in a heart healthy diet. If choosing red meat, make sure the meat is lean and limit to 1 to 3 times a week
- unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese if you have high blood cholesterol you should choose reduced fat varieties
- healthy fat choices with nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking
- herbs and spices to flavour foods, instead of adding salt
- drink mainly water
Angina Vs Heart Attack
Chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscle is called angina. Its a common symptom of heart disease. There are two main types of angina:
- stable angina, the most common type of angina and one that is predictable often occurring with physical exertion or stress
- unstable angina, which is unpredictable and should be treated as a medical emergency
An angina attack can feel like a heart attack, and in many cases especially with unstable angina it can be hard to tell angina from an actual heart attack.
If you have stable angina thats brought on with exertion and eases with rest, you may assume a sudden but brief bout of chest pain is only an angina attack. If chest pain doesnt subside with rest or comes and goes for a period of 10 minutes or more, you may be having a heart attack.
Talking with your doctor about how to manage your angina will help you better understand the difference between angina and heart attack symptoms, and help prepare you if your chest pain is actually a symptom of a heart attack.
The leading cause of heart attacks is coronary heart disease. This is where plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. The general buildup of plaque in the arteries is also known as atherosclerosis.
There are two main types of heart attack.
In type II heart attacks the heart does not receive as much oxygen-rich blood as it needs, but there is not a complete blockage of an artery.
Other causes of heart attacks include:
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What’s The Difference Between A Cardiac Arrest And A Heart Attack
The phrases cardiac arrest and heart attack are often confused, however are different.If youre having a cardiac arrest you will be unconscious, not breathing or not breathing normally. Your heart has stopped pumping blood around your body and youll need CPR and medical attention immediately. During a heart attack you’ll be conscious and breathing, but experiencing chest pain or discomfort.A heart attack is a medical emergency and can lead to cardiac arrest so its important to seek medical attention straight away.
Detect Early Warning Signs Of Heart Attack Using Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote Patient Monitoring , a type of telehealth, utilizes technological advances to enable the collection of patient-generated health data outside of the typical healthcare setting. With the use of remote patient monitoring devices such as home blood pressure monitor or wearable health technology like a smartwatch, your healthcare provider may detect early warnings and deviations in vital signs such as heart rate and blood pressure that could point to early signs of heart attack.
Here are early warning signs of heart attack that you should know:
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Heart Attack Is A Medical Emergency
Call triple zero for an ambulance if you or someone you are with experiences the warning signs of heart attack.
Its important to call triple zero, because:
- The trained operator will decide if you need an ambulance.
- You will receive treatment as soon as you phone.
- You will receive advice on what to do while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
Ambulance paramedics are trained to use special lifesaving equipment and to start early treatments for heart attack inside the ambulance. Early treatment can reduce the damage to your heart.
The ambulance is the safest and fastest way to get you to hospital. It gets you medical attention straight away.
Do not drive yourself to the hospital. This is dangerous for you and other road users.
If you live in a remote region and an ambulance is not available, make sure someone else drives you.
Its always better to go to hospital and be told its not a heart attack than to stay at home until its too late. Ignoring the warning signs can result in permanent damage to your heart muscle.
What Do These Early Symptoms Typically Look Like
Dr. Xu says the majority of patients experience somewhat typical symptoms, such as radiating chest pain, heaviness or discomfort, heart palpitations, cold sweats, and shortness of breath. Others — women more so than men — will experience some atypical symptoms as well, which may include fatigue, a general sense of unease, vague discomfort, back or abdominal pain and declining stamina. Both types of symptoms can be experienced months before an actual heart attack occurs.
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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.