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Female Heart Attack.symptoms

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Women’s Heart Attack Symptoms

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Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure, said Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYUs Langone Medical Center and an American Heart Association volunteer. Instead 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.

Even when the signs are subtle, the consequences can be deadly, especially if the victim doesnt get help right away.

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.

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What To Do If You Notice Heart Attack Symptoms

If you do suspect you might have heart attack symptoms and some do appear weeks or months before a heart attack dont discount them out of hand or let them linger for too long. Women often think its something else, says Dr. Cho. The sad thing is, women do tend to have more blockages in their heart when they do need to have something done.

In fact, women tend to get heart disease later than men do. Men get in their 50s and 60s, and women get it in their 60s and 70s, says Dr. Cho. Women always get it 10 years later because of the effect of estrogen.The sooner you report a problem, the better chance you have of catching an issue before it becomes a full-blown heart attack. If you experience any of these symptoms, take note and visit your doctor as quickly as possible. Its very important that you not become your own doctor but let somebody else be your doctor, Dr. Cho says.

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Heart Attack Or Something Else

Although a heart attack may be the first thing that comes to mind, other common medical conditions can cause similar symptoms.

Dr. Vaishnav notes these conditions can mimic a heart attack:

  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Emotional stress

If you’re having symptoms, even minor ones, talk to your doctor or head to the nearest emergency room.

Wed much rather you get checked and be fine, Dr. Vaishnav says.

Heart Attack Symptoms Are They Different For Men And Women

Common emergency symptoms can differ in men and women

Three minute read

Every year, more than one million people in the U.S. suffer from a heart attack. This means every 40 seconds someone in the US experiences congestive heart failure. Although heart disease death rates have fallen steadily for men, the rates for women have decreased only slightly.

Why is there such a discrepancy between men and women? A lot of it has to do with the variances in symptoms of heart attacks for each gender.

Difference in heart attack symptoms for men and women

Chest tightening, sweating and pain in the shoulder and arm are the most well-known symptoms of a heart attack. For years, many believed these were the only symptoms to look out for, but as we learn more about cardiovascular disease, we find that there are significant differences in how men and women experience a heart attack.

Warning signs in men

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for men. In fact, 1 in every 4 males die from a heart attack. Men also experience heart attacks earlier in life compared to women. Men exhibit the following symptoms during a heart attack:

  • Chest pain/tightening that feels like an elephant sitting on your chest. Also, a squeezing sensation that comes and goes or remains constant
  • Upper body pain in the arms, left shoulder, back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Rapid heartbeats

Women are less likely to seek treatment

What to do if you think youre having a heart attack

Schedule regular check-ups

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Dont Hesitate To Call 911

Learn the signs for heart attack, and remember: Even if youre not sure its a heart attack, have it checked out.

Minutes matter. Fast action can save lives – maybe your own.

if you experience heart attack warning signs. Calling 911 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment.

An emergency medical services team can begin treatment when they arrive up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. EMS staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too.

For many reasons, its best to call 911 so that an experienced EMS team can begin treatment and arrange rapid transport to the emergency room.

The Four Silent Symptoms Of A Heart Attack

In addition to extreme fatigue, here are the most common symptoms of heart attacks in women, according to the American Heart Association, so you know what to look for. Note that you may not have all of them:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, vomiting or lightheadedness.
  • All of these signs are silent, in the sense that they are easy to ignore especially if you dont want to believe youre having a heart attack. Another reason people think of them as silent signs of a heart attack is that individually, these symptoms could all be attributed to other conditions. The chest pain, in particular, may not be the dramatic, elephant-on-my-chest stereotypical male heart attack pain, says Lichtman.

    And the sheer number of these ambiguous symptoms may be one of the reasons many women dont know theyre having a heart attack, according to Lichtmans research there are other things bothering them, so they blow off the chest pain or pressure symptom, says Lichtman.

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    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 .

    Heart Attack Symptoms In Men Vs Women

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Women’s heart attack symptoms vary

    All heart attacks are not created equally, and that is especially true when it comes to the difference in symptoms between men and women. Knowing how to identify heart attack symptoms is critical to getting treatment quicker and saving valuable heart muscle. Dr. Tara Jarreau of Louisiana Cardiology Associates offers the following advice on recognizing heart attack symptoms.

    Studies have shown there is a distinct disparity between men and women when it comes to the heart. For example, women have smaller hearts and smaller arteries than men do. This could be why the symptoms of a heart attack are different for women than men.

    Common symptoms of a heart attack for both men and women include:

    • Chest pain. For men, it can feel like uncomfortable pressure or squeezing of the chest. For women, the pain could be radiating or non-radiating. Research shows that almost half of women said they did not experience chest pain at anytime during a heart attack.
    • Jaw or shoulder pain
    • Weakness and shortness of breath

    Unique symptoms for women include:

    • Fatigue, often the first and most unrecognized symptom
    • Back pain between the shoulder blades
    • Unique symptoms for men include:
    • Pain in one or both arms
    • Back or stomach pain
    • Abdominal discomfort that may feel like indigestion

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    A Young Woman Has A Higher Risk Of Mortality

    The new study highlights how most women and men both experience chest pain as the predominant symptom of a heart attack, but women tend to experience a greater number of additional non-chest pain symptoms.

    Those additional symptoms in women can be dangerously misunderstood.

    The backdrop for all of this is the fact that a young woman who is hospitalized with a heart attack has a higher risk of mortality than a similarly aged man in this age group of 18 to 55, said Judith Lichtman, associate professor in the department of chronic disease epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health and lead author of the study.

    Though the study does not dive into the scale of that increased risk, a previous report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows that between 2001 and 2010, the rate of in-hospital heart attack deaths for women ranged from 3.3% to 2.3%, whereas the rate for men ranged from 2% to 1.8%.

    Not getting care for heart attack symptoms could result in complications, such as an arrhythmia or abnormal heartbeat, heart failure, heart rupture or even death.

    Heart attacks most often occur as a result of coronary heart disease, when a part of the heart muscle doesnt receive enough blood.

    Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every seven minutes, someone in the United Kingdom will have a heart attack, according to the charity Heart UK.

    The Symptoms Of A Heart Attack Are Different For Women Knowing How To Spot Them Could Save Lives

    In the movies, a heart attack is a dramatic event. The victim clutches their chest and falls to the ground. In real life, though, the signs of a heart attack may be silent, or not nearly so obvious, especially for women.

    Cardiovascular disease is the no. 1 cause of death in women, accounting for one in three female deaths each year. According to the American Heart Association, 80% of cardiovascular disease may be prevented.

    If youve recently been diagnosed with heart disease, you can get support from your Asuris health plan. Many plans include Care Management, which can help you learn more about your disease and understand your treatment options.

    Learning the signs of heart attacks in women can save lives. Learning how to prevent heart attacks can, too.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Attacks In Women

    Until recently, research on heart attacks focused mainly on men. However, studies now show that some of the symptoms of heart attacks in women are different from those in men.

    Too often, the signs of heart attacks go unnoticed in women . They may think that other health problems or drug side effects are causing their symptoms or that the symptoms will go away on their own. As a result, women don’t always get the health care they need to prevent complications or death from a heart attack.

    Chest pain is the most common symptom in both sexes, but women may also experience these other symptoms:

    • unusual fatigue that gets worse with activity
    • difficulty breathing
    • heartburn that is unrelieved by antacids
    • nausea and/or vomiting that is unrelieved by antacids
    • tightening and pain in the chest that may extend into the neck, jaws and shoulders
    • general feeling of weakness

    Some women may have few of these symptoms, while others may have all of them at the same time. Symptoms may suddenly appear and then disappear. Also, women often report symptoms up to one month before the heart attack. If a woman has any of these symptoms and thinks she may be having a heart attack, she should immediately call emergency or go to the nearest emergency medical centre.

    Symptoms Of Heart Attack In Women:

    Heart Attack Signs in Women: A Handy Guide to Symptoms
    • Unusual pain in your neck, chest, shoulder, jaw, abdomen and/or through to your back
    • Feeling short of breath, sweaty
    • Racing of your heart or feeling of fluttering
    • Lightheadedness
    • Nausea and vomiting

    If you experience one or more of these symptoms, then you should get immediate medical attention.

    Feelings of embarrassment and not wanting to be a burden on others are major reasons why women tend to delay seeking treatment. It is important to identify any problems and take the necessary steps to intervene before a possible heart attack.

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    Instead Many Women Suffer From Less Common Warning Signs Such As:

    • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal pain
    • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
    • Pain in one or both arms
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Breaking out in a cold sweat
    • Light-headedness or dizziness
    • Unusual feelings of fatigue
    • Heart palpitations

    While these symptoms can be more subtle than the typical crushing chest pain, its important to take them seriously. Another difference to be aware of is the type of chest pain women may experience, as it tends to be described as pressure or tightness.

    Womens heart attack symptoms may occur more often when they are asleep or resting and can even be triggered by stress. If you experience any of these symptoms or think you are having a heart attack, immediately call an ambulance.

    What Are The First Warning Signs Of A Heart Attack In A Woman

    When a woman is having a heart attack, one of the first things she may notice is that shes feeling incredibly tired that is, more tired than the usual work-kids-Im-in-charge-of-everything kind of tired. Theres very good information on what premonitory symptoms that women had prior to being diagnosed, and the most common is overwhelming fatigue, says Dr. Watson.

    You might not think youre having a heart attack when you feel this way, because it could be something else, and frankly, who hasnt felt totally wiped?

    But heres the thing: Its almost always accompanied by something else: Chest pain, chest pressure, shortness of breath, indigestion, says Dr. Watson. Fatigue, says Dr. Watson, might not be the most prominent symptom, so its important to look at the totality of what youre feeling. If you have overwhelming fatigue and any of those other things, thats a sign that something is off, she says.

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    What You Can Do Now To Prevent An Early Heart Attack

    Although some risk factors are beyond your control, there are many thingsyou can do to protect your heart health. It’s estimated that 80% of heartdisease, including heart attacks and strokes, can be prevented throughlifestyle changes, such as:

    • Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese increases your heart disease risk. Get tips on how to watch your weight.
    • Eating a heart-healthy diet: Avoid processed foods and excess sugar. Eat a diet rich in whole, nutritious foods .
    • Exercising regularly: A consistent workout routine can boost your heart health. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week. Learn the kinds of exercise that can boost heart health.

    Pregnancy And Heart Attacks

    Mayo Clinic Minute – Women’s heart attack symptoms vary

    Heart attacks are not common among pregnant women, but they are possible both during and soon after delivery. Normal changes to your body during pregnancy can raise your risk of a heart attack. Your age, lifestyle habits, and other health conditions, such as bleeding disorders, obesity, preeclampsia , and diabetes, can also raise your risk.

    If you already have coronary artery disease, being pregnant can raise your risk of a heart attack. Coronary artery disease is a major cause of heart attacks during pregnancy. Ask your doctor whether it is safe for you to get pregnant and what steps you need to take to keep your heart healthy during your pregnancy.

    Heart attacks caused by spontaneous coronary artery dissection , a coronary artery embolus, or a coronary artery spasm are more common in pregnant women than in people who are not pregnant.

    If you have symptoms of a heart attack during your pregnancy, or at any time, . Your healthcare team will take steps to protect your baby during these tests. Your healthcare team will also make sure that any treatment you take for a heart attack is safe to use during pregnancy.

    Watch one womans story about surviving a heart attack soon after delivery.

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