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Silent Heart Attacks In Women

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Symptoms Of Stroke In Women

Silent Heart Attacks: Symptoms You Might Not Recognize

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.

Did We Answer Your Question About Heart Attack

For more information about heart attack, call the OWH Helpline at 1-800-994-9662 or check out the following resources from other organizations:

  • Heart Attack â Information from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
  • Heart Attack â Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

How Are Silent Heart Attacks Diagnosed

Many times, silent heart attacks are found during a routine check-up. If your doctor thinks you may have had one, they may order imaging tests. These could include an echocardiogram or echo, which is a special ultrasound, or a CT scan or MRI of your heart.

These tests can show if your heart muscle has been damaged, signaling that youve had a heart attack. If youve gone to the emergency room with silent heart attack symptoms, the doctor may order blood tests.

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How To Get Checked Out

Men may not be aware they had an SMI until weeks or even months later when they see their doctor for a regular visit, or because of persistent symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, or heartburn.

SMI is usually detected from an electrocardiogram or echocardiogram, which can highlight heart muscle damage. Another method is a blood test for the molecular footprints of troponin T, a protein released by injured heart cells. That test is often used in emergency departments for patients with heart attack symptoms.

Once an SMI is diagnosed, your doctor can identify your main risk factors and help design a treatment strategy, including changing your diet, exercising regularly, and taking a statin as well as other medication to help prevent a second heart attack .

“If you do notice any symptoms of a SMI, do not brush them aside, even if you do not think they are serious,” says Dr. Plutzky. “Playing it safe is always a better move than risking the potential harmful downside.”

Can Women Reduce Their Risk Of Having A Heart Attack

Does A Numb Left Arm Mean A Heart Attack?

As a woman, your hormones might give you some protection from CHD in your pre-menopause years. Post menopause, your risk rises and continues to rise as you get older. As you get older it is increasingly important to be aware of the risk factors that can affect your risk of developing CHD. The more risk factors you have, the higher your risk. Risk factors include:

  • being overweight
  • not doing enough physical activity.

Identifying and managing risk factors early on could help lower your risk of a heart attack in the future.

We recommend that all women over the age of 40 visit their local GP or nurse for a health check to check their cardiovascular risk. If you’re aged 4074 and living in England, you can ask for an NHS health check. Similar schemes are also available in other parts of the UK.Your doctor should invite you to review your risk every five years, but you can also just make an appointment yourself to check your blood pressure and cholesterol. This check might help to highlight anything that could put you at increased risk of having a heart attack.

If you have a family history of heart or circulatory disease make sure you tell your doctor or nurse. You’re considered to have a family history of heart or circulatory disease if:

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Do The Signs Of Heart Attack Change With Age

After you hit menopause, your body goes through a variety of changes. The hormone imbalance, night sweats, hot flushes, mood irritability, and constant stress further raises the risk of heart diseases.

But most importantly, the silent signs of heart attack in women over 40 are slightly different from younger women.

For example, they are less likely to experience chest pain as a symptom of heart blockage. Instead, theyd experience:

  • Heart palpitations

Is There Anything I Can Do To Prevent A Heart Attack

While you cant do anything about ageing or your family history, theres a lot you can do to lower your risk of having a heart attack. Lifestyle factors that can help to significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease include:

  • Stopping smoking
  • Cutting down on alcohol consumption
  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a healthy diet rich in fruit, vegetables and fibre and low in saturated fat, trans fat, salt and sugar

Monitoring your blood pressure every now and then is also a good idea, as many people have high blood pressure without realising it, adds Dr McClymont.

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Risk Factors For A Silent Heart Attack In Women

Still, Ekery says, the risk factors for a silent heart attack are the same as those for a recognized heart attack, and:

A silent heart attack can be just as dangerous as its more obvious counterpart, says Ekery. Because the event often leaves scarring and damage to the heart, it puts the person at greater risk of other heart problems. And because the person didnt know to seek treatment, blood flow to the heart might not have been restored early on, and no medications were administered, so the impact could potentially be greater.

Symptoms Of Silent Heart Attacks

Silent Heart Attacks AMITA Health

The symptoms of a silent heart attack are not as severe as those for a regular heart attack. They can often be mistaken for other conditions. Some people feel no symptoms at all. Pay attention when you feel any of the following:

  • Discomfort You may still feel pain, but it wont be the unmistakable chest pain of a regular heart attack. You may feel discomfort in the upper abdomen, in your back, or in your jaw. It could feel like youve strained a muscle.
  • Shortness of breath If you are feeling short of breath or having trouble breathing doing small activities, it could be a sign of a heart attack.
  • Heartburn Mild pain in the throat or chest can be mistaken for gastric reflux, indigestion, or heartburn.
  • Fatigue Physical discomfort or feeling very tired can be signs of many things. When they happen with a silent heart attack, they are often mistaken for other things. These could include poor sleep or age-related aches and pains.
  • Feeling lightheaded If you break out in a cold sweat, feel nauseated, or feel lightheaded, you could be having a silent heart attack.

If you experience one or more of these symptoms, call your doctor right away, go to the emergency room, or call 911.

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How Does Heart Disease Affect Women

In the United States, heart disease is the number one cause of death in women. But women are often not diagnosed with heart disease as quickly as men are. Thats because:

  • Women are more likely than men to have silent heart disease, meaning that they dont have symptoms.
  • Health care providers may not recognize heart disease in women because womens symptoms may be different from mens symptoms.
  • Women are more likely than men to have certain types of heart disease that can be harder to diagnose.

A delay in diagnosis may mean a delay in medical care that could help prevent serious problems, such as a heart attack. Thats why its important to learn about your risk for heart disease, the symptoms in women, and how to keep your heart healthy.

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.

Also Check: Biggest Cause Of Heart Attack

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.

Heart Attacks Striking Younger Women

New York woman suffers

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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What Is A Silent Heart Attack

A heart attack is called silent when it has no symptoms, mild symptoms or symptoms people dont connect to a heart attack. Also known as a myocardial infarction, a heart attack means your heart isnt getting oxygen. This injures your heart. Usually, a blood clot causes a heart attack by keeping blood from flowing through one of your coronary arteries. Less often, a coronary artery spasm can cut off your blood flow.

Heart attacks can happen when youre asleep or awake. They can happen when:

  • You just went through something very physically or emotionally stressful.
  • You quickly become more physically active.
  • Youre physically active outside in the cold.

Symptoms Of Heart Attacks When Life Pump Is Clogged

A whole circulation rolls into our bodies. Tons of paths with different sizes and volumes hold blood and carry it to feed our organs all over the body. From veins and arteries to capillaries have one job to accomplish, delivering oxygen and nutrition to body cells every second with no interruption, such as clots in general and heart attacks in particular.

Heart Attacks are due to blood clots that reach out to the heart and block its normal pumping rate. In fact, blood clots have many types and locations to hit, yet the ones causing heart attacks could be the most critical and life-threatening, as they hit the main and only blood pump in the body, blocking nutrition and oxygen to feed body cells.

To fully understand how blood clots affect the heart causing heart attack symptoms, we should first understand the different types of blood clots and how they could form.

Clots Types

Therere two main types of clots, and each could develop different symptoms, causing a different impact on the patient accordingly.


It mainly hits deep veins yet stays still with no movement, only blocking the bloodstream and reaching out to the following organs on the stream. This type of clots could develop many obvious symptoms, such as numbness, swelling, and redness in the surrounding skin.

Obstructive Thromboembolism:

You can check out this article for further information about blood clots in general and their complications.

How Do Clots Take Place?

Obviously, yes.

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People Who Have These So

  • a case of the flu, or
  • they may think that they strained a muscle in their chest or their upper back.
  • It also may not be discomfort in the chest, it may be in the jaw or the upper back or arms, she says.

Some folks have prolonged and excessive fatigue that is unexplained. Those are some of the less specific symptoms for a heart attack, but ones that people may ignore or attribute to something else.

Silent Heart Attacks More Common In Women Than Men

6 Signs of A Silent Heart Attack in Women

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S. with about one in every five female deaths due to cardiovascular diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that research from 2017 showed Mississippi has the highest mortality rates from heart disease and the second-highest mortality rates of stroke in the U.S.

There is particular concern about cardiovascular disease in women because some of the symptoms and risk factors for heart disease and heart attacks are different for women and men.

Many people think the warning signs of a heart attack are sudden, like a film-style heart attack, said where someone clutches his chest and falls over, said Licy L. Yanes Cardozo, MD, associate professor, University of Mississippi Medical Center . However, a heart attack may look and feel very different for women. Women are more likely to have nonclassical symptoms of heart attack than men.

Yanes Cordozo said that, for example, women when having a heart attack are more likely than men to have:

Pain in the back, neck, jaw, or throat




Extreme fatigue

Problems breathing

Women are more likely than men to have heart attacks that do not show obvious symptoms, Yanes Cordozo said. These are called silent heart attacks.

Yanes Cordozo said that, in addition, some conditions are unique to women and can increase their cardiovascular risk, such as:

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Preventing A Heart Attack

There are 5 main steps you can take to reduce your risk of having a heart attack :

  • smokers should quit smoking
  • lose weight if you’re overweight or obese
  • do regular exercise adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, unless advised otherwise by the doctor in charge of your care
  • eat a low-fat, high-fibre diet, including wholegrains and at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
  • moderate your alcohol consumption

What Exactly Is A Heart Attack

A heart attack is anytime your heart doesnt receive enough blood to stay healthy, says Karol Watson, M.D., Professor of Medicine/Cardiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The heart is a muscle, and just like any muscle, requires a constant blood supply to stay healthy and strong, she says. If an area of the heart is deprived of blood for any length of time, it can weaken and die, and when it does, thats a heart attack.

Blood supply to your heart is slowed or stopped if your arteries become blocked with plaque . There can also be blood clotting around the plaque, which makes it hard for the blood to get to your heart. And once an area of the heart dies, says Dr. Watson, it cannot come back .

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Are The Symptoms And Outcomes Of A Heart Attack Different For Men And Women

Both men and women experience the typical symptoms of a heart attack like a tightness of the chest, but the signs of a heart attack in women may be slightly less recognisable like dizziness, nausea or indigestion, Dr McClymont explains. A heart attack presenting in an atypical way can be more difficult to diagnose.

More research is needed to map out just how big the differences are between the symptoms women and men experience while having a heart attack. But its clear that women with chronic heart disease have worse outcomes than men, likely as a result of presenting without chest pain and instead experiencing symptoms like stomach pain, breathlessness, nausea and fatigue.

While around one-third of both male and female patients are initially misdiagnosed when presenting with a heart attack, women are twice as likely to be misdiagnosed.

This might, in part, be a result of women sometimes having lower levels of troponin. This is a protein released into the bloodstream during a heart attack, which helps to establish a diagnosis.

Mum Who Had A Heart Attack At 38 And Again At 40 Shares Warning Signs

The Silent Killer: Heart Disease

A fit and healthy mother-of-two has revealed how she suffered from a shock heart attack at 38 before having an almost heart attack less than two years later.

Nicola, now 44, from Melbourne told FEMAIL she had been feeling a little light headed, had some heartburn and hot flushes in the hours before her attack.

But things intensified when Nicola put her two kids to bed.

I had just put the little one to sleep and went to get up and felt really lightheaded, dizzy, she said.

And I had really bad heartburn, burning in the chest that took my breath away.

She stumbled to the other side of the room where she was hit by a wave of nausea as she called out for her husband.

Then my jaw started hurting. And my husband called the ambulance.

The busy mum said she knew whatever was happening was an emergency but had no idea she was suffering from a catastrophic heart attack.

Even paramedics missed the signs when they arrived to her home, 20 minutes after her husband first phoned.

He said that I probably had gastro, but because my son had just had an operation he would take me to the hospital as we couldnt have gastro at home, she said.

But I knew it wasnt, I hadnt thrown up. I just agreed, yes, take me to the hospital.

The paramedics checked her vitals after she stepped into the ambulance thats when Nicola first realised something was wrong with her heart.

They did the ECG and I just saw his face, she said.

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