Common Symptoms In Men
Another common symptom of heart attack in men is pain or discomfort in one or more of the following areas:
Risk factors for heart attack can apply to both women and men. These include factors like family history, diet, and lack of physical activity.
According to researchers in a , women ages 18 to 55 have a higher rate of certain medical conditions that may increase their risk of a heart attack.
Some of these conditions include:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- mental health conditions
Certain risk factors that apply to both men and women may be experienced differently by women, such as:
- High blood pressure. High blood pressure may develop during pregnancy or as a side effect of birth control pills.
- High cholesterol. While estrogen can protect women against high cholesterol, levels of this hormone tend to drop after menopause.
- Smoking. Both men and women smoke, but its been reported that women are less likely to quit successfully.
Women also have a
Exercise And Eat Well
“Regular physical activity can help manage your weight, reduce your blood pressure, and cut your risk of developing heart disease,” says Whitmore.
Everyone should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity – such as a brisk walk, cycling or swimming – every week. Whitmore also recommends embracing a Mediterranean diet, which includes fruit and vegetables, beans, whole grains, fish, nuts, seeds and olive oil.
How Does Heart Disease Affect Women
Despite increases in awareness over the past decades, only about half of women recognize that heart disease is their number 1 killer.1
Learn more facts about women and heart disease:
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, killing 314,186 women in 2020or about 1 in every 5 female deaths.2
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for African American and white women in the United States. Among American Indian and Alaska Native women, heart disease and cancer cause roughly the same number of deaths each year. For Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander women, heart disease is second only to cancer as a cause of death.3
- About 1 in 16 women age 20 and older have coronary heart disease, the most common type of heart disease:4
- About 1 in 16 white women , black women , and Hispanic women
- About 1 in 30 Asian women
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Why Heart Disease In Women Is So Often Missed Or Dismissed
New research shows that women may not realize their symptoms point to heart trouble, and that medical providers arent picking up on it either.
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Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in America, killing nearly 700,000 people a year. But studies have long shown that women are more likely than men to dismiss the warning signs of a heart attack, sometimes waiting hours or longer to call 911 or go to a hospital.
Now researchers are trying to figure out why. They have found that women often hesitate to get help because they tend to have more subtle heart attack symptoms than men but even when they do go to the hospital, health care providers are more likely to downplay their symptoms or delay treating them. Health authorities say that heart disease in women remains widely underdiagnosed and under treated, and that these factors contribute to worse outcomes among women and heightened rates of death from the disease.
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Waiting For An Ambulance
If you have had a heart attack, it’s important that you rest while you wait for an ambulance, to avoid unnecessary strain on your heart.
If aspirin is available and you are not allergic to it, slowly chew and then swallow an adult-size tablet while you wait for the ambulance.
Aspirin helps to thin your blood and improve blood flow to your heart.
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When To See A Doctor
The British Heart Foundation recommend all women over 40 years of age have regular checks with their doctor. This helps identify risk factors early so that they can be treated. Early intervention reduces the chances of a cardiac event.
Anyone who notices the warning signs of a heart attack, such as the following, should see a doctor immediately:
- unusual fatigue
- shortness of breath
- upper body pain
A doctor will note symptoms, check blood pressure and heart rate, and may order blood tests or use an electrocardiogram to see the hearts electrical activity.
Only 65 percent of women would call emergency services if they suspected they were having a heart attack, according to a 2012 survey .
Emergency treatment can save lives. Anyone noticing the following symptoms should call an ambulance immediately, especially if the signs are present for 5 minutes or more:
- chest pain or discomfort
- pain in the upper body, including arms, back, neck, jaw, or shoulder
- difficulty breathing
What Are The Risk Factors For Women’s Heart Disease
While several traditional risk factors for heart disease can affect both women and men, other factors may play a greater role in the onset of heart disease in women. These can include:
- Some other risk factors which cannot be controlled include menopause, pregnancy complications like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes , age, and family history.
A family history of heart disease does increase your risk of illness and death, but researchers at the Institute have made an exciting discovery which could reduce the rate of heart attacks in women and transform the treatment of heart and vascular disease for females.
The Institutes Executive Director, Professor Jason Kovacic, was at the centre of the new sex-specific research which compared the genetic changes of men and women at risk of a heart attack, allowing for a better understanding of Australias biggest killer.
Signs of poor heart health are not always obvious, which is why it’s important to regularly monitor things like your cholesterol levels, blood pressure and glucose. It is also important to encourage the women close to you to have regular check-ups to reduce the risk of heart disease or heart attack.
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Symptoms Of A Heart Attack
Symptoms of a heart attack can include:
- chest pain a feeling of pressure, heaviness, tightness or squeezing across your chest
- pain in other parts of the body it can feel as if the pain is spreading from your chest to your arms , jaw, neck, back and tummy
- feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- feeling sick or being sick
- an overwhelming feeling of anxiety
- coughing or wheezing
The chest pain is often severe, but some people may only experience minor pain, similar to indigestion.
While the most common symptom in both men and women is chest pain, women are more likely to have other symptoms such as shortness of breath, feeling or being sick and back or jaw pain.
Heart Attack Symptoms Go Beyond Chest Pain
Portrayals in movies and TV shows often make heart attacks look like sudden, crushing chest pain. While chest discomfort, pressure, or pain are common symptoms of heart attack, they arent the only ones.
Women are more likely than men to have more subtle heart attack symptoms that may be unrelated to the chest. You could be having a heart attack if you experience pain in your:
Symptoms can be vague, and many women brush them off because theyre not widely known as signs of a heart attack. Learning to recognize the more subtle symptoms can help you identify a cardiac event sooner before permanent damage occurs.
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Signs And Symptoms Of A Heart Attack In Women
Heart attack symptoms can vary from person to person but the most common signs of a heart attack are:
- chest pain or discomfort in your chest that suddenly occurs and doesn’t go away. It may feel like pressure, tightness or squeezing
- the pain may spread to your left or right arm or may spread to your neck, jaw, back or stomach
- you may also feel sick, sweaty, light-headed or short of breath.
Other less common symptoms include:
- a sudden feeling of anxiety that can feel similar to a panic attack
- excessive coughing or wheezing
If you think you’re having a heart attack, call 999 for an ambulance immediately.
Women may be less likely to seek medical attention and treatment quickly, despite the warning signs. This can dramatically reduce your chance of survival. Rapid treatment is essential, and the aim is to restore blood flow to the affected part of the heart muscle as soon as possible. This helps to limit the amount of damage to the heart.
- Learn more about heart attack symptoms.
/6the Importance Of Cpr
In case you develop symptoms of heart attack, contact your nearest hospital asking for immediate medical attention.
If a person suffers from a sudden heart attack and finds it difficult to breathe, begin a cardiopulmonary resuscitation to maintain or restore the blood flow in the body.
According to the experts at Mayo Clinic, CPR involves chest compressions . The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says if CPR is performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, it can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.
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Do Women Have As Many Heart Attacks As Men
Coronary heart disease kills more than twice as many women as breast cancer in the UK every year, and it was the single biggest killer of women worldwide in 2019. Despite this, its often considered a mans disease.There are more than 800,000 women in the UK living with CHD, which is the main cause of heart attacks.
Each year more than 30,000 women are admitted to hospital in the UK due to a heart attack.
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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Symptoms Of A Heart Attack In Women
In recent decades, scientists have realized that heart attack symptoms can be quite different for women than for men.
While pain and squeezing sensations in the chest are still the most common symptoms in women, many frequently self-reported symptoms differ greatly from those common in men. Lack of knowledge about the differences in symptoms across genders may be one of the reasons why women generally wait longer than men do to seek out care if they suspect they are having a heart attack.
Symptoms of heart attack in women include:
- unusual fatigue lasting for several days or sudden severe fatigue
- sleep disturbances
- upper back, shoulder, or throat pain
- jaw pain or pain that spreads up to your jaw
- pressure or pain in the center of your chest, which may spread to your arm
Base your decision to seek care on what feels normal and abnormal for you. If you are experiencing symptoms that feel new to you, and dont agree with your doctors conclusion, get a second opinion.
Heart Attacks: Watch For The Signs
According to the American Heart Association, heart attack symptoms for women and men can include uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the chest cold sweats dizziness or fainting and anxiety or a sense of impending doom.
Although chest pain is common in women with a heart attack, some women do not experience chest pain at all.
Symptoms more common in women than men include shortness of breath nausea or vomiting pain in one or both arms and neck, back, jaw or stomach pain.
Heart disease kills about one woman every minute in the United States, according to the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women program. Despite this, only one in five women believe heart disease is the biggest threat to their health.
Also consider that heart disease is not an equal opportunity disease for women. Depending on your ethnicity and racial background, your heart disease risk may be higher or lower compared with other women. Go Red for Women details important information on this:
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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.
Women Often Brush Off Warning Symptoms
Although women do experience “classic” symptoms of heart attack, such as chest pain and pressure, they are more likely than men to have sweating, nausea and jaw pain. These atypical symptoms are easily brushed off as the flu, stress or the result of busy lives.
Unfortunately, not taking heart attack symptoms seriously can put a woman’s life in jeopardy.
What makes matters worse is the tendency for doctors to take women’s heart attack symptoms less seriously than men’s.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, an increased diagnosis of heart attacks in women did not translate into better care. Women were about half as likely as men to receive recommended heart attack treatments. The improvement in diagnosis also did not lead to a decrease in the number of women who experienced another heart attack or died from cardiovascular disease within a year.
The bottom line? Take heart attack symptoms seriously. Advocate for yourself if the doctor in the emergency room brushes off your concerns about heart disease.
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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.
Seeing Your Doctor Regularly
Regular visits to your doctor are critically important to the prevention of heart attacks and for your overall health. Good communication between you and your doctor allows you to know which heart attack risk factors you have and how best to manage them. Knowing your risk factors gives you more control and helps you to make informed decisions that lead to a healthier lifestyle. Your doctor can recommend behaviors and medications to help reduce your specific risk factors, and regular visits allow your doctor to properly track them.
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A Different Kind Of Heart Attack
If you have mild symptoms, they may be caused by a silent heart attack. These heart attacks are less likely to cause symptoms. Often, you may not know youve had one until days or even weeks later.
Theyre more common in women, particularly women under 65.
To identify whether youve had one, your doctor may perform an electrocardiogram, also called an EKG or ECG. This non-invasive test uses small sensors attached to your chest and arms to record your hearts electrical activity.
If testing does detect a silent heart attack, your doctor may suggest treatments like medication or cardiac rehab.
Why Is Heart Disease And Heart Attack Seen As A Male Problem
Coronary heart disease kills more than twice as many women in the UK as breast cancer4. Worldwide, it is the single biggest killer of women5. “Despite this, heart disease is often considered a man’s disease,” says Whitmore.
This misconception, along with a lack of awareness of heart attack symptoms, are both barriers to women recognising that they are having a heart attack and seeking help.
“Women typically arrive at hospital later than men when they have a heart attack, which contributes to delays in receiving treatment6. This delay can increase the risk of a woman experiencing complications and having damage to their heart,” says the specialist heart nurse.
Research suggests that there is a disparity between genders when it comes to diagnosis and treatment, which could be a cause or consequence of the myth that heart problems predominantly impact men. Studies suggest women are 50% more likely than men to receive the wrong initial diagnosis for a heart attack7.
Additionally, female patients of male cardiac doctors have been found to have worse outcomes than their male counterparts, with no such gender differential for female cardiologists8.
Gender bias exists in research, too. Although clinical trials in cardiovascular disease primarily recruit male patients, some drugs act differently in women and men9.
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