An Inability To Do What You Were Able To Do Before
Defining this symptom can be somewhat difficult because its less a universal heart attack sign and more dependent on your individual experiences and baseline energy levels.
Its a significant change in your functional status, is how I would put it, says Dr. Cho. You were able to be on the treadmill 20 minutes, but now you can barely do 10 because you just feel so tired.
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:
Symptoms Of A Heart Attack In Women
Both women and men who have a heart attack often have chest pain. However, in addition to chest pain, women are more likely to have these symptoms:
- Pain in the shoulder, back, or arm
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms can happen together with chest pain or without any chest pain.
Many women may not recognize that these are symptoms of a heart attack. Women may not get emergency treatment right away if they downplay their symptoms and delay going to the hospital, or if the usual initial screening tests performed at the hospital may not detect an early or atypical heart attack. Because of this, women have a higher risk of serious health problems after a heart attack.
It is important to if you have these symptoms. Early treatment can limit damage to your heart and can save your life.
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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. Itâs 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.
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.
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Angina And Heart Attacks
Angina is a syndrome caused by the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart becoming restricted.
People with angina can experience similar symptoms to a heart attack, but they usually happen during exercise and pass within a few minutes.
However, occasionally, people with angina can have a heart attack. It’s important to recognise the difference between the symptoms of angina and those of a heart attack. The best way to do this is to remember that the symptoms of angina can be controlled with medicine, but symptoms of a heart attack cannot.
If you have angina, you may have been prescribed medicine that improves your symptoms within 5 minutes. If the first dose does not work, a second dose can be taken after 5 minutes, and a third dose after a further 5 minutes.
If the pain persists, despite taking 3 doses of glyceryl trinitrate over 15 minutes, call 999 and ask for an ambulance.
Page last reviewed: 28 November 2019 Next review due: 28 November 2022
Early Warning Signs Of Heart Attack In Women
A study of 515 women found that about 95% had symptoms more than one month before their heart attack. Some of these symptoms include:
Women are also more likely to have silent heart attacks, where there are no symptoms or very mild symptoms.
You may only learn that you had a silent heart attack days or weeks after it happened. A study of 708 heart attack cases showed that more than 25% of heart attacks were only discovered during routine medical check-ups.
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What Causes Heart Attack
Youll agree when I say knowing the causes is more important than learning about the symptoms of heart blockage in women.
Heart attacks in females occur for many reasons.
For starters, we experience immense stress daily. It aint easy balancing personal life, career, home, and kids together!
But studies show that long-term stress is one of the biggest causes of heart attacks in women.
It will affect your eating habits, hormone levels, and blood pressure and raise the risk of coronary diseases.
Were also not paying attention to our diets.
Eating unhealthy junk foods will definitely show some symptoms of heart blockage in females later on. High cholesterol and hypertension are owed to consuming rich fatty foods.
And lets not forget the lack of physical activities. Another major cause of a sudden spike in heart conditions.
So all in all, leading a healthy lifestyle = reduced risk of silent signs of heart attack in women.
What Is A Silent Heart Attack
A silent heart attack is a heart attack that does not cause obvious symptoms. Your doctor may discover a silent heart attack days, weeks, or months later on an electrocardiogram test used to diagnose a heart problem.
Silent heart attack:
- Is more common in women than in men
- Can happen to women younger than 65. Younger women who have silent heart attacks without chest pain are more likely to die compared to younger men who have silent heart attacks without chest pain.2
- Is more likely to happen in women with diabetes. Diabetes can change how you sense pain, making you less likely to notice heart attack symptoms.3
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Signs Of Heart Disease May Be More Subtle In Women Than Men
Symptoms of heart disease the countrys No. 1 killer may be more subtle and varied in women than in men, according to a review publishedThursdayin the American Heart Association journal Circulation.
Understanding the differences in symptoms is particularly important for women. Corrine Jurgens, an author of the review and an associate professor at the Connell School of Nursing at Boston College, said that women tend to be diagnosed with heart disease later in life than men, when they may have other underlying conditions that could make identifying subtle symptoms of heart disease much more difficult.
Whats more, a 2020 report, also published in Circulation, found a 10-year decline in awareness among women that heart disease is indeed their biggest health threat.
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Waiting For An Ambulance
If you have had a heart attack, its 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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Taking Your Health To Heart
Its important to understand your risk factors and be aware of common heart attack symptoms. Another way you can take care of your heart health is by focusing on prevention. You can find more heart-healthy lifestyle tips, as well as evidence-based treatments for cardiac care, on our heart health guide.
Heart Attack Symptoms And Warning Signs
A heart attack happens when an artery that feeds oxygen-rich blood to the heart becomes obstructed. The heart muscle begins to die, and heart attack symptoms begin.
- Sudden shortness of breath.
- Sudden sweating or flu-like symptoms, including nausea, clamminess or cold sweats.
- Unusual fatigue, light-headedness, weakness or dizziness.
- Pain that radiates. Men and women often experience this pain differently, as explained below.
- Intermittent pain that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. This sensation can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing or fullness.
- Anxiety or a feeling of doom.
- If you have angina: Any change in the frequency, duration or intensity of symptoms, which do not respond to nitroglycerin.
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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.
Why Your Sleep Pattern Is Vital To Your Heart And Brain Health
Many women are concerned about their breast cancer risk, and they perceive that as their greatest health threat, said Dr. Deirdre Mattina, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic. But we know that one in three women are going to die of heart disease every year.
For both women and men, signs of heart problems rarely occur in isolation.
Symptoms often occur in clusters, Jurgens said. Very rarely does someone come in with just one symptom.
And though sudden cardiac events heart attack or stroke, for example certainly appear without warning, many symptoms worsen over time.
Mattina said that patients with heart failure, for example, may report no longer being able to walk as far as they used to, or a gradual decline in the ability to take in full breaths.
Were looking for a pattern, Mattina said.
Here are the most common ways for six different cardiovascular conditions that present in patients.
Understand Your Risk Of Heart Disease
Heart disease is the number one cause of death for women and men. But both heart attacks and heart disease can appear differently in women than in men. This disparity means that women are more likely to have undiagnosed heart conditions, and they may not even know when theyre at risk for heart attack.
If youre a woman, its important to educate yourself about your heart health. Risk factors that increase your chances of heart disease and heart attack include:
Heart disease is common, but its preventable in many cases. Our team is dedicated to helping you strengthen your heart and live your healthiest life.
We partner with you, evaluating your medical history, family history, and current condition to propose a heart-healthy plan thats right for you. Managing pre-existing conditions and making a range of healthy lifestyle choices can make a big difference for your heart and help reduce your risk of heart attack.
Trust your heart health to our team at NJ Cardiovascular Institute. To learn more about the risks of heart disease and how to spot a heart attack, book an appointment at one of our offices in Newark, Secaucus, or Paramus, New Jersey. Use the online scheduler or give us a call.
Symptoms Can Be Different For Men And Women
Men and women experience heart attack symptoms in slightly different ways. The main difference is how pain radiates.
- For men: Pain will spread to the left shoulder, down the left arm or up to the chin.
- For women: Pain can be much more subtle. It may travel to the left or right arm, up to the chin, shoulder blades and upper back or to abdomen . Women are also more likely to experience these accompanying symptoms: shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and back or jaw pain. Read an in-depth overview of heart attack symptoms for women here.
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most start slowly with mild pain and discomfort. Surviving a heart attack depends upon how well you recognize and react to these symptoms. Remember that “time is muscle.” The sooner you receive medical care, the sooner heart muscle can be saved.
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Heart Attacks Striking Younger Women
Younger women are having more heart attacks, says a recent study.Researchers were surprised to find that while the heart attack rate hasdecreased among older adults, it’s risen among those ages 35-54, especiallywomen. TheAtherosclerosis Risk in Communities studyreviewed more than 28,000 hospitalizations for heart attacks in fourcities.
“This observational study found a trend in young women,” saysVirginia Colliver, M.D., cardiologist withJohns Hopkins Community Physicians-Heart Carein Bethesda, Maryland. “But the research doesn’t provide insight into whythe uptick in heart attacks is happening to younger people. I suspect ithas to do with more people having risk factors for heart disease at anearlier age.”
Warning Signs Of A Heart Attack In Women
People often think that heart attacks are something that happen 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 also have more symptoms than just 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 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.
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How Is Heart Disease Treated In Women
Similar action is taken to treat heart disease in both men and women. Depending on the diagnosis, treatments can include medications, angioplasty, stenting, coronary bypass surgery or cardiac rehabilitation. Your doctor may also recommend a change in lifestyle to delay the onset of heart disease.
The most recent research shows that women are often being under-treated when it comes to heart disease, with women who suffer a heart attack half as likely to receive proper treatments and twice as likely to die as men.
This highlights the need for women to be aware of their risk factors, as well as symptoms of heart disease, and learn what can be done to treat heart disease.
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Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection
SCAD is a tear on the wall of a coronary artery , which supplies blood to your heart. It can cause angina, heart attack and cardiac arrest.
Symptoms can include:
- a feeling of heaviness or tightness in your chest this may spread to your arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach
- shortness of of breath
- light headedness
Many people with SCAD will have few or no risk factors for heart disease. Its not yet known what causes it, and its not thought to be preventable.
Read further information about SCAD
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Do Hormones Affect Your Risk Of A Heart Attack
Many women use prescription hormone drugs for birth control or for reducingsymptoms of menopause . Could thesedrugs jeopardize your heart health?
“Birth control pills can increase your risk of having a blood clot, eitherin the heart or in the legs, and they can also raise your blood pressure.So, if you have a history of high blood pressure or clotting problems,other types of contraception might be a better fit for you,” says Colliver.”But for most young women, it’s safe to take birth control medication.”
Colliver notes that women over the age of 50 are at an increased risk forheart disease and should completely avoid estrogen and progesterone drugs,if possible. “If your overall risk of heart attack is extremely low and youdesperately need relief from hot flashes and other postmenopausal symptoms,then hormone replacement therapy may be fine for you,” says Colliver. “Butafter the age of 65, we really try to avoid using them at all because theydo increase the risk of heart disease and potentially breast cancer.”