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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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. It’s 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.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of A Heart Attack
The most common symptom of a heart attack is chest pain or discomfort. Other symptoms of a heart attack include:
- shortness of breath
- to the neck, jaw or shoulders
Most symptoms of a heart attack are the same for men and women.
Women are more likely to feel some discomfort in the chest rather than a sharp pain or tightness. The milder symptoms do not mean that a woman’s heart attack is any less severe than a man’s heart attack. Any symptoms of a heart attack should be taken seriously.
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Symptoms Of Heart Attack
If you have any of these signs, call 911 and get to a hospital right away.
- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or chest pain are all possible symptoms. It lasts more than a few minutes or disappears then reappears.
- Back, neck, jaw, or stomach pain or discomfort in one or both limbs.
- Shortness of breath that may or may not is accompanied by chest pain or discomfort.
- Other symptoms include a chilly sweat, nausea, and lightheadedness.
The most frequent symptoms of heart attack include chest pain or discomfort, much as in males. However, several of the other frequent symptoms, such as shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw discomfort, are more prevalent in women than in males. There are two kinds of symptoms to predict the heart attack in women, symptoms before a heart attack and symptoms during a heart attack. Symptoms of heart attack are fatigue, weakness, short breathing, chest pain, sweating, upper body pain, sleep disorders, and stomach problems which can indicate the possibilities of a heart attack in women. While squeezing, fullness or chest pain, pain in arms, nausea and joint pain occurs when youre suffering from a heart attack.
What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Attacks In Women
Until recently, research on heart attacks focused mainly on men. However, studies now show that some of the symptoms of heart attacks in women are different from those in men.
Too often, the signs of heart attacks go unnoticed in women . They may think that other health problems or drug side effects are causing their symptoms or that the symptoms will go away on their own. As a result, women don’t always get the health care they need to prevent complications or death from a heart attack.
Chest pain is the most common symptom in both sexes, but women may also experience these other symptoms:
- unusual fatigue that gets worse with activity
- difficulty breathing
- heartburn that is unrelieved by antacids
- nausea and/or vomiting that is unrelieved by antacids
- tightening and pain in the chest that may extend into the neck, jaws and shoulders
- general feeling of weakness
Some women may have few of these symptoms, while others may have all of them at the same time. Symptoms may suddenly appear and then disappear. Also, women often report symptoms up to one month before the heart attack. If a woman has any of these symptoms and thinks she may be having a heart attack, she should immediately call emergency or go to the nearest emergency medical centre.
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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.
Heart Attack Symptoms Vary:
Not everyone who has a heart attack has the same symptoms or intensity of symptoms. Some individuals have moderate discomfort, while others experience very severe pain. Some individuals have no signs or symptoms of heart attack. But Sudden chest pain may be the initial symptom for some. The higher the number of signs and symptoms of heart attack you experience, the more likely you are to experience a heart attack. Although some heart attacks occur unexpectedly, many individuals have warning signs and symptoms hours, days, or weeks beforehand. Recurrent chest pain or pressure that is induced by exercise and alleviated by rest may be the first sign.
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Heart Attacks In Women
At least two Kiwi women die from a heart attack everyday. Do you know the risks and the warning signs? And are women’s heart attack symptoms different to those experienced by men?
Heart attacks are often perceived to be a man’s problem, but currently more than 900 Kiwi women die from one each year. That’s more than two Kiwi women a day losing their life to a heart attack. Heart disease more generally remains the single biggest killer of New Zealand women. There are currently more than 65,000 New Zealand women living with heart disease.
How Long Can A Woman Have Symptoms Or Signs Of Blockage Before A Heart Attack Occurs
Is it possible to walk around with heart attack symptoms for a period of time? Yes, but for how long is impossible to state, says Dr. Watson. Every woman is different.
Thats why if there are any worrisome symptoms its best to get them checked as soon as possible. The symptoms that should send you directly to get checked out are chest pain, shortness of breath or fainting, she says.
As for knowing whether your blood vessels to your heart are becoming blocked, unfortunately, says Dr. Watson, you probably wont. Its really hard to know pre-symptoms, she says, though you and your healthcare provider can be on the lookout if she knows your family history and is monitoring your cholesterol, blood pressure and other heart disease risk factors. What you are going to really feel are the symptoms I wish there were an early warning sign but there isnt.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Disease And Heart Attack In Women
When women have symptoms of heart disease, they may include:
- Pain or discomfort in the chest that may be dull and heavy or sharp
- Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper belly, or back
- Unusual fatigue
- Shortness of breath during physical activity
Women who have coronary artery disease are more likely than men to have chest pain when resting or doing daily activities, rather than during exercise. They’re also more likely than men to feel chest pain from mental stress.
Symptoms of a heart attack in women may also be different than in men. Chest pain is the most common symptom for both sexes. It may feel like crushing or squeezing. But women are somewhat less likely than men to have chest pain.
During a heart attack, women may feel:
- Pressure or tightness in the chest
- Pain in the upper back, arms, neck, jaw or throat
- Indigestion, heartburn, nausea, or vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Shortness of breath
Heart attacks usually don’t look like the sudden, dramatic events we see in the movies. The symptoms may be mild or strong. They may start slowly. They can stop and then come back.
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. That’s because:
- Women are more likely than men to have “silent” heart disease, meaning that they don’t have symptoms.
- Health care providers may not recognize heart disease in women because women’s symptoms may be different from men’s 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. That’s why it’s important to learn about your risk for heart disease, the symptoms in women, and how to keep your heart healthy.
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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
Do Women Have As Many Heart Attacks As Men
Coronary heart disease kills more than twice as many women as breast cancer in the UK every year, and it was the single biggest killer of women worldwide in 2019. Despite this, its often considered a mans disease.There are more than 800,000 women in the UK living with CHD, which is the main cause of heart attacks.
Each year more than 30,000 women are admitted to hospital in the UK due to a heart attack.
What Causes A Heart Attack
Coronary artery disease causes most heart attacks. In people with CAD, plaque builds up on the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. This is called atherosclerosis .
Plaque can build up in fatty clumps or in a thin, smooth layer. Both types are dangerous. The plaque can break open or wear down, causing blood to clump together in that area. If a clot blocks blood flow to the heart, it can cause a heart attack.
This picture shows how CAD causes a heart attack. Plaque builds up in an artery of the heart, and a blood clot forms. The clot blocks blood flow to part of the heart, and the heart muscle begins to die.
A heart attack can also happen if the artery pinches itself closed. This is called a coronary spasm. Coronary spasms are rare. They happen more often in young women than in older women or men.
Learn more about CAD.
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.
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Symptoms Before A Heart Attack In Women
Eight of the possible symptoms of heart attack are:
Females chest pain or discomfort is the most prevalent sign of a heart attack.
It may be identified as follows:
Women, on the other hand, may have a heart attack without any chest pain. In the weeks leading up to the attack, 29.7% of the women polled in the 2003 research reported chest pain. In addition, 57 percent of those who suffered a heart attack had chest pain.
What Do You Do If You Have A Heart Attack
If you have any of the listed symptoms:
- tell someone and ask them to get help right away
The faster you get help, the better your chances of surviving a heart attack. Half of heart attack deaths happen within 2 hours of the first signs.
On average, Canadians wait almost 5 hours before getting medical help. Many people find it hard to believe that they are having a heart attack. They convince themselves that the symptoms are something else and that they will go away.
Not getting help for your symptoms could lead to death. New therapies and drugs can reduce damage and save your life if treatment begins soon enough. Your health care provider will work with you to determine treatment and recovery needs.
If you have suffered a heart attack, having important health information close by can help medical staff treat you. Carry personal health information with you at all times and have it posted by your phone. You may not be able to tell medical staff this information yourself, depending on your condition.
Your list should include:
- telephone and health care number
- medical history
- current medications
- health care provider
- health insurance number for expenses that are not covered under provincial health insurance plans, such as:
- ambulance services
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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.
Can Women Reduce Their Risk Of Having 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.
- Get tips and advice on healthy living.
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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