Monday, October 3, 2022

Signs Of Heart Attack Women

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What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Disease For Women

Heart attack signs and symptoms in women

There tends to be a common misconception when it comes to the symptoms associated with heart disease in women. These symptoms can vary from those in men, so its important that women take the steps to understand the symptoms unique to them.

Only one in three women will experience typical heart attack symptoms such as pain in the centre of the chest. This can be severe, but can alternatively be described as uncomfortable pressure, squeezing or fullness which can last for a few minutes, go away, and then comes back.

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
  • 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.

Are Heart Attacks More Common In Women

For many, it may be surprising to know just how common heart attacks and heart disease can be among women. Consider these eye-opening stats:

  • For Canadian women, heart disease is the No. 1 cause of premature death
  • If a woman has a heart attack, shes more likely to die from it, or suffer a second one, compared to men
  • Heart attack symptoms go unrecognized in 53% of women
  • 1/3 more women die of stroke than men in Canada
  • Heart disease is more deadly than breast cancer, taking the lives of 5 times more women

No stat is more eye opening than that last one. Breast cancer is much more in the public eye than womens heart health, and its no less important a topic. And yet heart disease takes more lives.

What Should You Do If You Have Symptoms Of A Heart Attack

  • . One Swiss study found that women wait almost 40 minutes longer to call for help than men do, perhaps because they dont recognize the symptoms. Older research shows that calling an ambulance is usually quicker than driving yourself to the ER. Thats because if they know youre coming, the hospital can prep for you, and you get care along the way.
  • Lead with chest pain or pressure when you get to the hospital and the doctor asks about your symptoms. Even if you have other symptoms, Put that out first rather than burying it, advises Lichtman.
  • Dont play down what youre feeling.Be the squeaky wheel, says Dr. Watson. Dr. Lichtman has done research showing that younger women who need care for a heart attack often dont want to look alarmist. Dont feel bad or think that you dont want to disturb anyone this is our job to save your life, Dr. Watson says.

Also Check: What Is The Normal Resting Heart Rate For A Woman

Symptoms Of Stroke In Women

Strokes are not as common as heart attacks, but can come on without warning. Here are signs that a stroke may be occurring:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Its worth noting that in some women symptoms of heart problems, like palpitations, chills or faintness, may actually be symptoms of perimenopause. However, if you are experiencing these symptoms, you should see your healthcare practitioner.

What Are The Warning Signs Of A Heart Attack In Women

Getting to the Heart of Heart Attacks in Women

Heart disease is the number one cause of death among women in the United States, with one out of every three women dying from heart disease. The signs and symptoms of heart disease in women are different than those in men.

6 Common heart attack signs and symptoms in women include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Chest pain is described as a squeezing or feeling of fullness in the chest or an extremely uncomfortable sensation.
  • Pain in your arm, back, neck, or jaw
  • Women experience this type of pain during a heart attack more than men.
  • This pain is so sudden that it can wake you up from sleep.
  • Stomach pain
  • Stomach pain during a heart attack can make a woman feel like she has an ulcer.
  • Some women can feel such severe abdominal pressure it feels as if an elephant is sitting on her stomach.
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling extremely exhausted, even with simple activities like walking, can be a sign of a heart attack.
  • Women think they feel fatigued due to stress from their professional and personal lives, which is not always the case.
  • Recommended Reading: Do Heart Attacks Go Away

    Also Check: Why Is My Resting Heart Rate Going Up

    One Patients Success Story

    Carol, 59 years young, had a history of high cholesterol, high blood sugar and low hormones from menopause. We discussed lifestyle medicine and optimized her nutrition plan, adding more phytonutrient dense foods, veggies and decreased sugar. She started working with a personal trainer twice weekly and lost body fat. We rechecked many of the labs discussed above. Her cholesterol decreased and we were able to taper off her statin medication. After a few months, we decreased her metformin. Currently she is completely off both of these medications!She was determined and motivated to decrease her cardiovascular risk and she did it!Carol is delighted that she does not have to take extra medications and that her lifestyle is optimizing her health. We used the concept of epigenetics and nutrigenomics to optimize her heart health.

    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 |

    Recommended Reading: Can Drinking Too Much Alcohol Cause Heart Attack

    Heart Attack Treatment For Women

    The treatment for heart attack in women is the same as it is for men.

    A recent study in the United Kingdom showed that women having a heart attack were 50% more likely than men to be misdiagnosed, leading to a delay in treatment and poorer outcomes. However there is no evidence to show that the same is true for New Zealand women.

    Heart Attack Risk Factors For Women

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Women’s heart attack symptoms vary

    There are several factors that increase your chance of developing heartdisease. Almost 50% of all Americans have at least one of three major riskfactors for the condition:

    • High blood pressure: Women can develop high blood pressure as a side effect of birth control pills or during pregnancy. All women over 65 are more likely than men are to have high blood pressure.
    • High cholesterol: Estrogen seems to protect women against unhealthy levels of cholesterol. But after menopause, estrogen levels drop and high cholesterol becomes more likely.
    • Smoking: Although men are slightly more likely to smoke, the gap in cigarette usage between genders is smaller than ever and women are less likely to be able to quit successfully.

    Additional risk factors include:

    • Excessive alcohol use

    Read Also: What Is A Normal Heart Rate When Exercising

    What Are The Risk Factors For Heart Attack

    Numerous risk factors for coronary heart disease and heart attacks, in particular, have been found by extensive investigation. Your risk of getting coronary heart disease increases with the number of risk factors and the severity of each risk factor. Here are a few examples of risk factors.

    • Old age

    • Alcohol

    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

    Read Also: What Is The Closest Thing To A Magic Bullet Against Heart Disease

    What Are The Common Symptoms Of A Heart Attack In Women

    Here are the key symptoms for women:

    • Chest pain or discomfort
    • Jaw or neck pain
    • A general sense of discomfort

    Many of these symptoms are not typically associated with heart attacks, so if youre not aware of them, it can be easy for them to go unnoticed or at least not consider them heart attack symptoms when youre experiencing them. Many of these symptoms also occur while women are resting or sleeping. So its important to be aware of the symptoms and talk to your doctor about whether or not they could be associated with your heart health.

    Why are womens heart attack symptoms different?

    Just as for men, the most common symptom of a heart attack for women is pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. But many women dont experience chest pain at all during a heart attack: 42% dont. So while its still important for women to look out for that, its equally important to know that many of the symptoms of a heart attack for women are actually different from those for men. In fact, it may be surprising to know that women dont even need to have blocked arteries for a heart attack to occur, so its understandable that the symptoms may be different.

    Heart Attack Symptoms Go Beyond Chest Pain

    Women

    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:

    • Arms
    • Fatigue
    • Indigestion

    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.

    Recommended Reading: Does Blood Pressure Change With Heart Attack

    Symptoms Vary Between Men And Women

    As with men, womens most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

    What Women Need To Know Thats Different From Men

    For a long time there was a sense that women didnt have the chest pain that men do, and thats not true, says Lichtman. The number one thing women need to know is that chest pain or pressure is in fact one of the symptoms , even if it doesnt feel like the stereotype of a crushing weight on your chest. My rule is, if you have any symptoms between your navel and your nose, that comes on with exertion and goes away with rest, you have to think about your heart, says Dr. Watson.

    For a long time there was a sense that women didnt have chest pain as men do, and thats not true

    The other thing women need to know thats different from men is that they may have multiple symptoms, and not to disregard the fact that chest pain is one of them. Why? I think its a combination of things, Lichtman says. In the back of peoples minds, especially with younger women, people would rather have something else be the cause than a heart attack, she says. Theyd much rather it be, say, indigestion over a heart attack, so they tend to focus on the less dire possibilities.

    Doctors, too, may not think heart attack if when they hear chest pain as just one of many symptoms. Its different for different providers, but for some, the order in which you hear is the order of intensity, she says. So if a woman lists chest pressure as third or fourth on the list, it may take the doctor longer to think of a heart attack.

    Recommended Reading: How To Lower High Heart Rate

    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:

    Risk Factors O A Heart Attack In A Woman:

    Mayo Clinic Minute – Women’s heart attack symptoms vary

    The risk factors include various sorts of diseases and defects. These factors are divided into the below categories depending upon their functionality.

    General Reasons:

    • Women with the age above 60 are majorly affected by a heart attack.
    • Genetic from any of the family members might lead to heart attack or other heart-related diseases.
    • Being overweight compared to age is also one of the major factors of heart attacks
    • The person without a healthy life and unusual habits are also the signs of a stroke in women.

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    Heart Attack In Women After Age :

    A heart attack also occurs depending upon age and gender of the human along with the healthy lifestyle they are living in. Basically, at the age of 50 women face various physical changes as they go through menopause. This will lead to a decrease in hormonal estrogen.

    It is believed and proved that estrogen helps to protect the heart. Thus, at the age of 50 due to a decrease in estrogens heart risk factors will increase.

    According to the best Interventional cardiologist in Hyderabad Women are more likely to face death due to heart attack when compared to men. The women heart attack symptoms are same as the normal signs and symptoms. Hence, be more cautious with the women above 50 years of age.

    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.”

    Also Check: What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Congestive Heart Failure

    Heart Disease Is The Leading Cause Of Death For Women In Australia And Globally

    Heart disease includes any condition that affects the normal functioning of the heart, and includes coronary artery disease that causes heart attacks, arrhythmias, heart failure and heart valve problems.

    It is too often perceived as a common illness among middle-aged men, but in fact, the risk of heart problems increases significantly once women reach menopause. In fact, there are some heart diseases, such as SCAD and FMD, which affect women more than they do men.

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