Thursday, April 18, 2024

What Are Signs Of Heart Attack In Women

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Heart Attack Treatment For Women

Heart attack symptoms for women | Ohio State Medical Center

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.

What Are The Risk Factors For Women’s Heart Disease

While several traditional risk factors for heart disease can affect both women and men, other factors may play a greater role in the onset of heart disease in women. These can include:

  • Some other risk factors which cannot be controlled include menopause, pregnancy complications like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes , age, and family history.


A family history of heart disease does increase your risk of illness and death, but researchers at the Institute have made an exciting discovery which could reduce the rate of heart attacks in women and transform the treatment of heart and vascular disease for females.

The Institutes Executive Director, Professor Jason Kovacic, was at the centre of the new sex-specific research which compared the genetic changes of men and women at risk of a heart attack, allowing for a better understanding of Australias biggest killer.

Signs of poor heart health are not always obvious, which is why it’s important to regularly monitor things like your cholesterol levels, blood pressure and glucose. It is also important to encourage the women close to you to have regular check-ups to reduce the risk of heart disease or heart attack.

Heart Attack Symptoms Can Be Different For Women

Dr. Aggarwal tells us, “Heart attacks in women more often present with atypical symptoms when compared to men, which can contribute to delays in diagnosis in women and adverse outcomes. While men typically experience the classic symptoms of chest-and-left-arm pain people usually associate with heart attacks, this isn’t necessarily true for women. Atypical symptoms that can be seen more commonly in women include discomfort in the chest, pain in the upper back, neck or throat pain, pain in either arm, sweating, heartburn, indigestion, nausea and vomiting, extreme tiredness, shortness of breath, and dizziness. Because many of these symptoms are non-specific, women’s heart attack symptoms are often mistaken for other conditions such as anxiety which lead to delays in diagnosis, resulting in higher mortality rates in women with heart attacks when compared to men.”

The Mayo Clinic states, “Women are more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain, such as:

  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or upper belly discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in one or both arms
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Unusual fatigue

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Heart Attack Or Something Else

Although a heart attack may be the first thing that comes to mind, other common medical conditions can cause similar symptoms.

Dr. Vaishnav notes these conditions can mimic a heart attack:

  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Emotional stress

If you’re having symptoms, even minor ones, talk to your doctor or head to the nearest emergency room.

Wed much rather you get checked and be fine, Dr. Vaishnav says.

Risk Factors For Heart Disease Can Be Different For Women

What Women Need to Know About Strokes and Heart Attacks

Dr. Aggarwal advises “It’s important to be aware of what can increase women’s risk for heart disease. Some of the main risk factors include hypertension, low level of HDL cholesterol , or a high level of LDL cholesterol , diabetes, lack of exercise, smoking, depression and stress, family history, and obesity. While there are common risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol that affect everyone, many people may not be aware that there are some risk factors that have sex-based differences. For example, guidelines for optimal cholesterol levels vary between men and women.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Several traditional risk factors for coronary artery disease such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity affect both women and men. But other factors may play a bigger role in the development of heart disease in women.

-Stress and depression affect women’s hearts more than men’s. Depression may make it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow recommended treatment for other health conditions.

Women with diabetes are more likely to develop heart disease than are men with diabetes. Also, because diabetes can change the way women feel pain, there’s an increased risk of having a silent heart attack without symptoms.

Smoking is a greater risk factor for heart disease in women than it is in men.”

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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, its 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 doesnt 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.

Preventing Heart Disease In Women

The risk factors for heart disease are complicated and include genetics, other biological factors, and general health and lifestyle factors.

While you may not be able to completely eliminate your risk of heart disease, you can take steps to reduce it. These include:

  • Get your blood pressure checked regularly. If its high, work with your doctor to lower it. This may include medication and lifestyle changes.
  • If you smoke, seek help to quit. This can be difficult, but a doctor can help create a smoking cessation plan thats right for you.
  • If you have risk factors for diabetes, such as family history or obesity, get your blood sugar tested.
  • If you do have diabetes, keep blood sugar under control.
  • Maintain a weight that works for your body.
  • Eat a healthy diet thats high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean meats.
  • Limit your alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day.

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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.

What Is A Heart Attack

Heart Attack Signs for Women

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.

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News Anchors Stroke On Live Tv Raises Awareness Of Womens Risk At Any Age

NCIS star Pauley Perrette also suffered a stroke, raising warnings about womens risk.

TULSA, Okla. An Oklahoma news anchor and a TV actress are raising awareness about womens stroke risk at any age by sharing their own experiences.

Im sorry, Chin said, interrupting the broadcast to throw it to the stations meteorologist. Something is going on with me this morning and I apologize to everybody.

Chin later , writing that her doctors believe she suffered the beginnings of a stroke while on the air.

The episode seemed to have come out of nowhere. I felt great before our show. However, over the course of several minutes during our newscast, things started to happen, she wrote. First, I lost partial vision in one eye. A little bit later my hand and arm went numb. Then, I knew I was in big trouble when my mouth would not speak the words that were right in front of me on the teleprompter. If you were watching Saturday morning, you know how desperately I tried to steer the show forward, but the words just wouldnt come.

Chin wrote that her coworkers called 911, and she was hospitalized for several days while undergoing multiple medical tests.

NCIS star Pauley Perrette also revealed recently that she nearly died from a massive stroke a year ago at the age of 52.

Perrette, now 53, took to Twitter on Sept. 2 to share an update on her recovery.

Urgent Advice: Phone 999 Or Go To A& e Immediately If You Are Pregnant And:

  • you have central chest pain or discomfort in your chest that doesn’t go away it may feel like pressure, tightness or squeezing
  • the pain radiates down your left arm, or both arms, or to your neck, jaw, back or stomach
  • you feel sick, sweaty, lightheaded or short of breath
  • you have severe sudden chest pain or chest pain that you feel through to your back
  • experience chest pain or tightness while exercising which eases at rest
  • you experience unconsciousness
  • you experience seizures or fitting
  • you have difficulty breathing
  • you are breathless at rest or with minimal effort
  • you have a low or undetectable heart beat
  • you have blue or pale tingling of knees, hands and lips
  • you have chest pain and breathlessness, nausea, sweating or are coughing up blood
  • are experiencing dizziness that is persistent or associated with blurred vision, headache, or palpitation
  • are experiencing palpitations that last more than 10 minutes

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Urgent Advice: Phone 999 Or Go To A& e Immediately If:

  • you have central chest pain or discomfort in your chest that doesn’t go away it may feel like pressure, tightness or squeezing
  • the pain radiates down your left arm, or both arms, or to your neck, jaw, back or stomach
  • you have severe sudden chest pain or chest pain that you feel through to your back
  • you feel sick, sweaty, lightheaded or short of breath

A heart attack is a medical emergency. Do not delay getting help if you have symptoms.

Do The Signs Of Heart Attack Change With Age

A Womans Heart Attack: Why and How It Is Different than a Mans Heart ...

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

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Let’s Win This Together

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. Support the innovative research, education and prevention services that protect the women we love.

Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure, said Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYUs Langone Medical Center and an American Heart Association volunteer. Instead they may experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue.

Even when the signs are subtle, the consequences can be deadly, especially if the victim doesnt get help right away.

The Four Silent Symptoms Of A Heart Attack

In addition to extreme fatigue, here are the most common symptoms of heart attacks in women, according to the American Heart Association, so you know what to look for. Note that you may not have all of them:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, vomiting or lightheadedness.
  • All of these signs are silent, in the sense that they are easy to ignore especially if you dont want to believe youre having a heart attack. Another reason people think of them as silent signs of a heart attack is that individually, these symptoms could all be attributed to other conditions. The chest pain, in particular, may not be the dramatic, elephant-on-my-chest stereotypical male heart attack pain, says Lichtman.

    And the sheer number of these ambiguous symptoms may be one of the reasons many women dont know theyre having a heart attack, according to Lichtmans research there are other things bothering them, so they blow off the chest pain or pressure symptom, says Lichtman.

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    Pregnancy And Heart Disease

    From the early stages of pregnancy there are lots of changes in a womans body, including to the heart. The heart needs to work harder, pumping up to 50% more blood volume than normal. The blood is also more prone to clotting. There are extra demands on your heart around the time of birth. These demands can cause greater stress on your heart.

    Symptoms Of Stroke In Women

    Heart attack signs and symptoms 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.

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    Early Symptoms Of A Heart Attack

    A lot of heart damage happens in the first 2 hours following a heart attack, which means that paying attention to any early symptoms is critical. The sooner you receive help for a heart attack, the better.

    According to the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care, early heart attack symptoms may occur in 50 percent of all people who have heart attacks.

    Early symptoms of heart attack can include the following:

    • mild pain or discomfort in your chest that may come and go, which is also called stuttering chest pain

    nearly twice the rate that women do. Men also have heart attacks earlier in life compared to women. If you have a family history of heart disease or a history of cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, obesity, or other risk factors, your chances of having a heart attack are even higher.

    Symptoms of a heart attack in men include:

    • standard chest pain/pressure that feels like an elephant is sitting on your chest, with a squeezing sensation, heaviness, or pressure in the chest that may come and go or remain constant and intense
    • upper body pain or discomfort, including arms, left shoulder, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
    • rapid or irregular heartbeat
    • stomach discomfort that feels like indigestion
    • shortness of breath, which may leave you feeling like you cant get enough air, even when youre resting
    • dizziness or feeling like youre going to pass out
    • breaking out in a cold sweat

    What To Do If You Notice Heart Attack Symptoms

    If you do suspect you might have heart attack symptoms and some do appear weeks or months before a heart attack dont discount them out of hand or let them linger for too long. Women often think its something else, says Dr. Cho. The sad thing is, women do tend to have more blockages in their heart when they do need to have something done.

    In fact, women tend to get heart disease later than men do. Men get in their 50s and 60s, and women get it in their 60s and 70s, says Dr. Cho. Women always get it 10 years later because of the effect of estrogen.The sooner you report a problem, the better chance you have of catching an issue before it becomes a full-blown heart attack. If you experience any of these symptoms, take note and visit your doctor as quickly as possible. Its very important that you not become your own doctor but let somebody else be your doctor, Dr. Cho says.

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    Risk Factors Cause Silent Damage

    Dr. Aggarwal shares, “I think the most important thing people must know about heart disease is that the risk factors do their damage silently, and that it’s important to take steps to prevent and address those risks. Cardiovascular disease can affect all parts of your body. High blood pressure, one of the leading risk factors for heart disease, is an independent risk factor for heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and a host of other health care issues. The good news is that high blood pressure is easy to check, does not require an invasive test or blood draw to measure, and can be evaluated on a regular basis from home.

    The American Heart Association has released guidelines recommending home self-measurement of blood pressure as an important tool in evaluating the effectiveness of treatment in people diagnosed with high blood pressure. Several clinical studies have demonstrated improved diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure with self-measured blood pressure at home. If heart disease isn’t managed, it can potentially affect other organs and cause kidney failure, liver failure, loss of vision, and more.”

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