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.
Develop A Healthy Relationship With Food
Your body requires nutrition to function, and it is very important that it receives adequate nutrition at regular intervals. A nutritious diet can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and protect the heart. Limiting the intake of certain food items like salt, processed carbohydrates, sugar, etc., will also promote better health. You can see rewarding results when you have a good relationship with food.
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
- kidney failure
- 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
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Having A Heart Attack
Although there are several risk factors that you cant control, there are many ways you can help yourself and reduce your risk of a heart attack. These include:
- Schedule a checkup: Find a primary care provider and see them at least once a year for a checkup or wellness visit. An annual checkup can catch many of the early warning signs of heart disease, including signs that you can’t feel. These include your blood pressure, blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and more.
- Quit tobacco products: This includes smokeless tobacco and all vaping products.
- Exercise regularly: Aim for 20 to 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity a week.
- Eat a healthy diet: Examples include the Mediterranean or Dash diets. A plant-based diet approach is an excellent alternative.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Your primary care provider can advise you on a healthy goal weight and provide you resources and guidance to help you reach that goal.
- Manage your existing health conditions: This includes high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Reduce your stress: Consider techniques such as yoga, deep breathing and meditation.
- Take your medications: Dont just take medications when you remember to or when you have a doctors appointment coming up.
- Keep all your medical appointments: Seeing your healthcare providers regularly can help uncover heart-related issues or other medical problems you didn’t know you had. This can also help treat problems sooner rather than later.
Lower The Risk Factors You Can Control
The first step to lowering cardiovascular risk is to raise your awareness of the risk factors and symptoms that are particular to women. The next step is to take actions and practice daily behaviors that lower the risk factors you can control.
- Avoid smoking.
- Stick to a healthy, low-saturated-fat diet that is high in fiber and low in fatty, processed foods.
- Several times a week, follow a supervised exercise regimen that is both challenging and motivating:
- Benefits of regular exercise include lower blood pressure, lower risk of diabetes, healthier body weight, and stress reduction.
- Exercise at least 3 times per week for at least 30 minutes. Even better, build up to 4-6 times per week for 45 minutes or more.
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Heart Attack Warning Signs
While some heart attacks are sudden and intense, many start less noticeably, with mild pain or discomfort at first. The most common heart attack symptom, for both men and women, is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomitting, and back or jaw pain.
The American Heart Association lists the below as the major signs of a heart attack:
- Chest discomfort
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
- Shortness of breath
- Other signs, including breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness
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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Heart Attack Symptoms Are They Different For 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
- Cold sweat
Warning signs in women
Women are less likely to seek treatment
What to do if you think youre having a heart attack
Schedule regular check-ups
How Are Heart Attacks Diagnosed
If you think you might be having a heart attack, you need to head to a hospital straight away. There, a doctor will assess your symptoms and check your vital signs blood pressure, pulse and temperature.
There are several tests that help indicate if youve had a heart attack, and whether damage was caused, such as:
- electrocardiogram electrical leads are placed on your chest, arms and legs to record the electrical signals travelling through your heart muscle
- CT scan or MRI scan
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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:
- Back pain
- 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
What Are The Symptoms Of A Heart Attack
If you have any of the symptoms below, you could be having a heart attack. If symptoms are severe, get worse quickly, or last longer than 10 minutes, call triple zero immediately and ask for an ambulance. If calling triple zero does not work on your mobile try calling 112.
The most common symptoms of a heart attack include:
- chest pain pressure or tightness in the chest and arms that may spread to the jaw, neck or back
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Women may experience different symptoms, such as:
- breathlessness and generally feeling unwell
- tightness or discomfort in the arms
- back pain or pressure
Heart attack symptoms differ from person to person. Some people experience no warning signs before a heart attack while others feel symptoms days or weeks in advance. Nearly 1 in 3 men and nearly 4 in 10 women who have heart attacks dont feel any chest pain at all. Chest pains may also come and go.
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What Is A Heart Attack
Heart attack signs and symptoms in men and women: Chest pain or discomfort Shortness of breath Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, back, arm, or shoulder Feeling nauseous, light-headed, or unusually tired.
A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, happens when a part of the heart muscle doesnt get enough blood.
The more time that passes without treatment to restore blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart muscle.
Coronary artery disease is the main cause of heart attack. A less common cause is a severe spasm, or sudden contraction, of a coronary artery that can stop blood flow to the heart muscle.
Additional Heart Attack Symptoms That Women May Experience
In addition to the common heart attack symptoms, women may experience one or more of the following:
- Tightness, squeezing or pressure in the chest, throat, upper abdomen or neck
- Nausea and indigestion-like symptoms, including heartburn or an upset stomach
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting or sweating that occurs with or without chest pain
- Numbing or tingling sensation in the left arm
- Back pain
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath that occurs with or without exertion
- Waking during the night out of breath
- Unexplained severe anxiety, fatigue or overall lack of energy
Want to know more about your risk for heart disease? Take a free HeartAware online risk assessment. Learn more about our cardiac care at UNC Rex Healthcare and UNC Medical Center or find a cardiologist near you.
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Warning Signs Your Body Gives You Before A Heart Attack
Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in both men and women worldwide. Contrast to what you may see in a movie, the signs of a heart attack can be hard to miss. “Two-thirds of women will have less-typical, non-Hollywood heart attack symptoms,” says C. Noel Bairey Merz, M.D., director of the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles.
Though symptoms like chest tightness and upper body pain are more obvious, heart attacks present a host of symptoms that can be easily mistaken for another ailment . Identifying the signs of a heart attack and seeking early intervention can be the difference between life or death. Here are the most common symptoms to look out for.
Heart Attack Warning Signs For Women
While chest pain is often a symptom of a heart attack among women, the pain is often described as pressure or tightness instead of the heavy weight on the chest pain that men describe.
In some cases, there may only be other symptoms and very little or no chest pain.
Women are also more likely than men to experience nontraditional heart attack symptoms, such as:
- unusual or extreme fatigue, which may develop several days before other symptoms and may make you feel like youre coming down with the flu
- pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen that may feel like heartburn or indigestion
- throat and jaw pain, often without any chest pain
- symptoms that come on gradually
Women are often reluctant to seek medical attention for heart attack symptoms, partly because of delays in recognizing heart attack symptoms since theyre not commonly talked about.
While women are slightly less likely than men to have heart attacks before menopause, the odds essentially are equal after menopause.
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Early Signs Of Heart Disease
The first sign of heart disease is often a heart attack or other serious event. But, there are a few important signs that can help you recognize problems before they come to a head.
In the early stages, symptoms that seem like mere annoyances may come and go. For example, you may have heart arrhythmias, which can cause:
- difficulty catching your breath after moderate physical exertion, like walking up a flight of stairs
- a sense of discomfort or squeezing in your chest that lasts for 30 minutes to a few hours
- unexplained pain in your upper torso, neck, and jaw
- a heartbeat that is faster, slower, or more irregular than usual
- dizziness or fainting
- changes in your extremities, such as pain, swelling, tingling, numbness, coldness, and weakness
- extreme fatigue
- irregular heartbeat
These symptoms can be signs that your blood vessels have narrowed. This narrowing, which can be caused by plaque buildup, makes it more difficult for your heart to circulate oxygenated blood throughout your body.
In addition to the above symptoms, heart disease caused by an infection of the heart can include dry cough, fever, and skin rashes.
A cluster of risk factors may also signal impending heart disease. For example, your risk of heart disease significantly increases if you have diabetes and high blood pressure.
Preventing Heart Attacks By Understanding Cardiovascular Risks
Do you know that heart attacks have “beginnings” that can occur days or weeks before an actual attack? It is important to recognize these beginnings, with the help of an EHAC doctor, to help prevent the actual attack and its potential health consequences. People often mistake the early warning signs of a heart attack, such as chest pain, for heartburn or pulled a muscle. The unfortunate outcome is that many people wait too long before getting help.
At The Hospitals of Providence, we have an EHAC program delivered by a team of cardiologists, nurses and staff who are dedicated to helping men and women recognize the early warning signs of a heart attack. We provide care and treatment options for these signs and help prevent the emergency from happening.
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When Can I Resume My Usual Activities
Recovery from a heart attack after youre released from the hospital depends on the severity of the heart attack, how soon treatment began, methods used and the health conditions you had if any before your heart attack. Your healthcare provider can explain the next steps for your recovery and what you can expect. In general, most people can return to work or resume their usual activities anywhere between two weeks to three months after their heart attack.
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.
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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.
- Learn more on our women and heart attacks page.
Do Women Fare Better Or Worse Than Men After A Heart Attack
Younger women under age 45 have a better outcome than men of a similar age. Scientists believe this is because of estrogen’s heart-protective effects. However, after menopause ends the protective benefits of estrogen, women fare worse than men. More specifically:
- Women between the ages of 45 and 65 who’ve had a heart attack are more likely to die within a year of the event compared with men of this same age.
- Women over age 65 are more likely to die within weeks of their heart attack than men over age 65.
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