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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Heart Attacks Can Happen Without Major Blockages
The majority of people who suffer heart attacks have blockages of 50 percent or less. These blockages wouldnt show up in a stress test. Small plaques that do not limit blood flow to the heart can rupture and cause a heart attack. Stress tests look for a 70 percent blockage or higher within a heart artery.
Generally, its best to focus on modifying your risk factors for heart disease, like watching your weight, exercising, eating right, not smoking, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.
Stress management is important, too. To reduce your stress levels, utilize methods such as meditation, yoga and relaxation techniques.
How Men And Women Experience Heart Attack
Women and men can experience the signs and symptoms of a heart attack differently.
Men may experience:
- shortness of breath
Although chest pain is thought to be the most common symptom of heart attack and it is common in men only about half of all women who have a heart attack actually report chest pain.
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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
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.
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Symptoms Can Last For Days
Since many symptoms of a heart attack in women dont include chest pain, theyre often overlooked. Unusual fatigue, nausea, weakness, and other signs may be mistaken for illnesses such as the flu.
Vague symptoms make heart attack harder to identify, but women are also more likely to dismiss or minimize their symptoms in comparison to men. In fact, one study found that women waited 54 hours to seek treatment for heart attack symptoms, compared to men who waited just 16 hours.
If you think you or a loved one is suffering a heart attack, call 911 immediately. Follow the operators instructions and try to take slow, deep breaths until help arrives. Seeking treatment as early as possible increases your chances of a full recovery.
Heart Attack Warning Signs That Could Save Your Life
Being able to see into the future might sound like the stuff of science fiction, but it would certainly be useful in helping as foresee, and perhaps prevent, adverse health events.
As it turns out, medical research tells us there are markers beyond chest pain to help us predict heart attacks up to a month in advance, especially in women.
Studies published by University of Arkansas Medical School researchers suggest there are a number of symptoms besides chest pain that indicate a heart attack could be on the cards in coming weeks.
Among those key symptoms are: fatigue, disturbed sleep, shortness of breath, weak arms or legs, indigestion, anxiety, loss of appetite and any changes in thought processes.
Looking out for these signs can be particularly important for women, many of whom do not display the well-known early heart attack warning signs that men do such as chest discomfort and arm and/or jaw pain.
University of Arkansas researchers have shown that, in varying degrees, women have displayed the symptoms above weeks before a heart attack.
The most common early symptoms that women remembered were unusual fatigue , sleep disturbance , shortness of breath , indigestion , and anxiety .
While these symptoms are more common in women, chest pain is not to be ignored. The above figure of 30 per cent still represents nearly one in three women.
Early Heart Attack Symptoms
While most heart attacks are sudden and unmistakable, some might come on more gradually, Dr. Abdallah says. Some of the common early warning signs include:
- Pressure or tightnessin the chest .
- Pain in the arm,jaw, neck or back.
- Unusual fatigue.
Anybody young or old, male or female can experience these subtle signs, though its more common in women.
How To Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease
About 75% of heart disease cases in women can be prevented by making changes to your lifestyle.
Some ways to reduce your heart disease risk include:
- Eat healthy. Eat foods that are high in fiber. Choose foods that are low in cholesterol, trans fats, and saturated fats. Eat less salt and sugar.
- Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week.
- Stop smoking. Smoking increases your risk for heart disease.
- Limit alcohol. Women should have no more than one drink a day.
- Learn to cope with stress.
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What You Can Do To Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease
You may already know many of the risk factors for heart disease, such as family history, weight gain around the middle, smoking and high blood pressure. But there are other lesser-known risk factors that are also important. Heres what to do about them:
A note about declining estrogen in menopause. After the age of 55, your risk of heart attack increases greatly, especially if youve gone through menopause. This may be because of estrogens protective effects on the inner lining of the blood vessels when estrogen declines, so does the health of the blood vessel walls. But, hormone replacement therapy carries risks too. The Womens Health Initiative showed that both equine-based and synthetic hormone replacement therapies increase heart disease risk in postmenopausal women.
You may also notice that other risk factors increase around menopause. This is more likely if youve had less than healthy diet and lifestyle habits in the past and thats most of us! But remember, you can still do so much to reduce your risk going forward.
What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Attack
The major symptoms of a heart attack are
- Chest pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
- Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint. You may also break out into a cold sweat.
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders.
- Shortness of breath. This often comes along with chest discomfort, but shortness of breath also can happen before chest discomfort.
Other symptoms of a heart attack could include unusual or unexplained tiredness and nausea or vomiting. Women are more likely to have these other symptoms. Learn more about women and heart disease.
Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack.1Learn more facts about heart attack and heart disease.
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Heart Attack Endemic In India
India is currently seeing a surge in heart attack death cases. Most of the cases are being reported from the young age groups, between 18-30. What exactly is the cause? How can one stay safe? Experts suggest that the first thing to keep in mind is to understand the symptoms. Proper medical intervention at the right time is important to stay safe from life-threatening cardiological issues.
Why Heart Disease Goes Undiagnosed In Women
Australian women are more likely to die from heart disease than breast cancer. This is partly because heart disease is often not recognised in women. The reasons for this include:
- Women often develop symptoms of heart disease at a much later stage in the illness than men.
- Symptoms can be more vague or non-specific in women.
- Women are less likely to seek help quickly.
- Some diagnostic tests for heart disease are less accurate in women than in men.
- Some health professionals may be less likely to check for heart disease in women.
There is also less community awareness of the risk of heart disease in females. Many Australian women mistakenly assume that heart disease mostly affects middle-aged men, which is not the case.
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Arm Back Neck Or Jaw Pain
Sometimes chest pain can shoot or travel through your arm, neck, jaw, or your back, says Dr. Lee. The pain may gradually get more intense over several minutes.
Since most people expect pain to be in their chest during a heart attack, these symptoms can be very confusing. This is especially true because it may be difficult to pinpoint where the pain started.
Pregnancy If You Have A Heart Condition
Most people with a heart condition tolerate pregnancy well. But, depending on the nature of your heart condition, there may be risks to you and your baby.
You should avoid an unplanned pregnancy if you have a heart condition. This gives you time to talk to your healthcare professional about pregnancy and any risks there may be.
Further support is available from Scottish Obstetric Cardiology Network . SOCN help women with a heart condition who are thinking about pregnancy, or who are pregnant.
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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.
What Women Need To Know About Subtle Heart Attack Symptoms
Heart disease is the cause of about one in every three deaths in the United States. Its the leading cause of death for men and women, yet its a common misconception that men are at greater risk for heart problems than women.
Many people assume that only older individuals, particular older men, are at risk for heart attack. But if your heart health is compromised, a heart attack can happen at any age and to either sex.
The most common symptom of a heart attack is chest pain for both women and men. But women are more likely to suffer a heart attack with more subtle symptoms, which makes recognizing a heart attack more difficult unless you know what to look for.
At NJ Cardiovascular Institute, our team is here to help you understand the most common signs of heart attacks in women. We regularly diagnose and treat heart disease to help women of all ages live longer, healthier lives.
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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.
Shoulder Pain From Heart Attack
Although heart attack is most commonly associated with chest pain, it can also cause pain or discomfort in other parts of the body, including the shoulder.
Both women and men may experience shoulder pain during a heart attack. Some research suggests shoulder pain during a heart attack may be more common in women than men.
A 2018 study looked at 532 people who had an ST-elevation myocardial infarction , a type of heart attack that affects the whole heart muscle wall. Shoulder pain was twice as common in women than men. Throat and back pain were also more common in women.
Heart attack in men usually causes chest pain or discomfort, which may feel like pain, heaviness, pressure, fullness, squeezing, or heartburn. It typically lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away but returns again.
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When To Call 911
If you suspect that you or someone else might be having a heart attack, call 911 or local emergency services right away. Immediate treatment can be lifesaving.
Long-term follow-up care is also important to improve outcomes.
Heart attack causes damage to your heart muscle, which can lead to potentially life threatening complications. Although more research is needed, some complications appear to be more common in women than men.
According to a 2016 review from the AHA, women are more likely than men to develop symptoms of heart failure following a heart attack. They also have a higher risk of death in the months and years following a heart attack.
The review found that 26 percent of women and 19 percent of men die within 1 year following a first heart attack, and 47 percent of women and 36 percent of men die within 5 years.
Some for these gender differences include:
- There may be a delay in recognizing womens symptoms.
- Women may be undertreated.
What To Do If You Think Youre Having A Heart Attack
If you think youre having a heart attack or heart attack symptoms, call for emergency medical help. Dont ignore or delay it, as every minute counts. Treating a heart attack early can limit or prevent damage to your heart.
At the hospital, speak up for yourself or bring someone who can advocate for you. Tell the doctor you are concerned about your heart. Describe your symptoms, how long youve had them, and your medical history.
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Tips To Keep Heart Healthy
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.”
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