Tuesday, April 23, 2024

What Are The Signs Of A Heart Attack For Women

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What Are The Risk Factors For Heart Attack

Heart attack signs and symptoms in women

Several health conditions, your lifestyle, and your age and family history can increase your risk for heart disease and heart attack. These are called risk factors. About;half of all Americans have at least one of the three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking.2

Some risk factors cannot be controlled, such as your age or family history. But you can take steps to lower your risk by changing the factors you;can control.

Learn more about risk factors for heart disease and heart attack.

You Feel Dizzy Or Lightheaded

A lot of things can make you lose your balance or feel faint for a moment. Maybe you didnât have enough to eat or drink, or you stood up too fast.

But if you suddenly feel unsteady and you also have chest discomfort or shortness of breath, call a doctor right away.

“It could mean your blood pressure has dropped because your heart isn’t able to pump the way it should,” Bufalino says.

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.

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Should I Take A Daily Aspirin To Prevent Heart Attack

Aspirin may be helpful for women at high risk, such as women who have already had a heart attack. Aspirin can have serious side effects and may be harmful when mixed with certain medicines. If you’re thinking about taking aspirin, talk to your doctor first. If your doctor thinks aspirin is a good choice for you, be sure to take it exactly as your doctor tells you to.

One Woman’s Heart Attack Story

Know the Signs of a Heart Attack

In 1991, I went to the ER with chest pains twice in one week. They said it was ulcers . Then the pain became very intense. Again, the ER said there was nothing they could do. I refused to leave and was admitted for observation. Later, the doctor on duty saw my EKG and asked, “Where’s the 34-year-old who had the massive heart attack?” I had emergency surgery. However, the damage was done, and only part of my heart muscle functions. I had to quit a job I loved, and my life is completely changed. They thought I was too young to have a heart attack.

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Types Of Heart Attacks

The scientific term for a heart attack is myocardial infarction or MI for short. There are different kinds of heart attacks, and the severity, diagnosis and treatment for each may be different.

What all heart attacks have in common is that something is preventing oxygen-containing, nutrient-rich blood from getting to the heart muscle. The amount of damage to the heart will depend on the type of heart attack, the severity of blockage and the time it took to get treated.

Heres what you need to know about the types of heart attacks:

Breaking Out In A Cold Sweat

Another common symptom is finding yourself breaking out in a cold sweat. The reason behind this symptom is that when you have clogged arteries, your heart requires more effort to pump blood, and sweating keeps your bodys temperature down during this extra effort.

For women, this means night sweats may not just be the result of menopause. They might also be a sign of heart problems.

If you experience any of these symptoms, make sure to consult your physician. Dont wait until it becomes urgent.

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Surprising Signs You May Be Having A Heart Attack

Luis Astudillo, M.D. contributes to topics such as Cardiology.

When people have heart attacks in movies, they usually clutch their chests dramatically, break out in a cold sweat and drop to the floor. In real life, some people experience heart attacks this way, but there are many other less obvious symptoms which may indicate that someone is having a heart attack.

Its important to know all of the signs including subtler ones to ensure that you get the emergency care that you need.

Many people who have heart attacks dont have classic symptoms, so they may think that theyre experiencing indigestion, fatigue or muscle soreness from physical exertion, says Luis Astudillo, M.D., a cardiologist at Palisades Medical Center. Women and older adults in particular may not exhibit the typical signs that many people would immediately recognize.

How Can I Lower My Cholesterol

Signs and symptoms of heart attacks in women

You can lower your cholesterol by taking these steps:

Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, losing weight can help lower your total cholesterol and LDL levels. Calculate your Body Mass Index to see if you are at a healthy weight. If not, try making small changes like eating an apple instead of potato chips, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking farther away from the entrance to your office, the grocery store, or the mall.

Eat better. Eat foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol.

Eat more:

  • Fish, poultry , and lean meats . Broil, bake, roast, or poach foods. Remove the fat and skin before eating.
  • Skim or low-fat milk and cheeses, and low-fat or nonfat yogurt
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Cereals, breads, rice, and pasta made from whole grains

Eat less:

  • Heart Healthy Diet
  • Therapeutic Lifestyles Changes Diet

Get moving.Exercise can help lower LDL and raise HDL . Exercise at a moderate intensity for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week, or get 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity each week.

  • Take your medicine. If your doctor has prescribed medicine to lower your cholesterol, take it exactly as you have been told to.

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Causes Of Heart Attack

For the heart to function well, it needs a consistent supply of oxygen-rich blood. Your coronary arteries give your heart this crucial blood supply.

Heart disease causes the arteries to constrict and blood flow to be less than optimal. Fossils are formed in your arteries when fat, calcium, proteins, and inflammation cells stack up. On the outside, these plaque deposits may seem hard on the outside but are squishy and mushy on the inside.

A coronary artery spasm can trigger a heart attack in rare cases. The coronary spasm occurs when your arteries limit or spasm on and off, preventing the blood flow to your heart muscle from getting enough oxygen and nutrients . In fact, it can happen even if you’re not suffering from severe coronary artery disease.

Your heart muscle is served by different coronary blood vessels. Injuries to the muscle are determined by the size of the region that is supplied by the blocked artery and the length of time that passes between an attack and therapy.

Following a heart attack is the repair of the heart muscle. After around eight weeks, you’ll be ready to go! After an injury, scar tissue grows in the affected area. It’s just that the new scar tissue doesn’t migrate in the manner it’s supposed to!

It should be noted that the heart’s ability to pump blood is reduced after a cardiac attack. To what extent your ability to pump is impacted relies on how large and where the scar is located

What Can I Do To Recover After A Heart Attack

Take our quizexternal icon to see how much you know about cardiac rehabilitation.

If youve had a heart attack, your heart may be damaged. This could affect your hearts rhythm and its ability to pump blood to the rest of the body. You may also be at risk for another heart attack or conditions such as;stroke, kidney disorders, and;peripheral arterial disease .

You can lower your chances of having future health problems following a heart attack with these steps:

  • Physical activityTalk with your health care team about the things you do each day in your life and work. Your doctor may want you to limit work, travel, or sexual activity for some time after a heart attack.
  • Lifestyle changesEating a healthier diet, increasing physical activity, quitting smoking, and managing stressin addition to taking prescribed medicinescan help improve your heart health and quality of life. Ask your health care team about attending a program called cardiac rehabilitation to help you make these lifestyle changes.
  • Cardiac rehabilitationCardiac rehabilitation;is an important program for anyone recovering from a heart attack, heart failure, or other heart problem that required surgery or medical care. Cardiac rehab is a supervised program that includes
  • Physical activity
  • Education about healthy living, including healthy eating, taking medicine as prescribed, and ways to help you quit smoking
  • Counseling to find ways to relieve stress and improve mental health

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Menopause And Heart Disease

Heart disease risk rises for everyone as they age, but for women symptoms can become more evident after the onset of menopause.

Menopause does not cause cardiovascular diseases. However, certain risk factors increase around the time of menopause;and a high-fat diet, smoking or other unhealthy habits begun earlier in life can also take a toll, said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist and an American Heart Association volunteer.

Menopause isnt a disease. Its a natural phase of a womans life cycle, Dr. Goldberg said. Its important for women, as they approach menopause, to really take stock of their health.

On average, the onset of menopause, when menstrual periods permanently stop, occurs;around age 54, said Dr. Goldberg, medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Womens Health at New York University Langone Medical Center.

More than one in three female adults has some form of cardiovascular disease.; An overall increase in heart attacks among women is seen about 10 years after menopause. Heart disease is the leading killer of women.

Signs Of Heart Attack That You Shouldnt Ignore

How to Spot Heart Attack Symptoms in Women

About every 40 seconds, someone has a heart attack in the US. Most people imagine that having a heart attack is always intense. But the truth is that sometimes you may be unsure if your are suffering from a heart attack because the signs can be subtle and different from what you may typically think of.

This makes heart attacks very dangerous. In fact, 1 in 5 heart attacks goes unnoticed, meaning the heart muscle is damaged due to lack of blood supply but the person is not aware of that this has occurred.

So what are the signs of a heart attack both subtle and not-so-subtle? Here are 4 signs of heart attack to be on the lookout for:

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Early Symptoms Don’t Really Sound Like The Hollywood Heart Attack Experience Is That Typical

There are two main ways that people present with heart attacks, Dr. Xu says:

  • Sudden A person may or may not have any symptoms previously, but all at once a plaque deposit ruptures, triggering a chain of events and a sudden heart attack.
  • Gradual The other presentation happens slowly as coronary disease progresses. In this situation, an artery is getting narrower over time. When the artery is narrowed down to more than 70 percent, a person will start to have warning symptoms ahead of time, especially with physical exertion.

Does Menopausal Hormone Therapy Increase A Woman’s Risk For Heart Disease

Menopausal hormone therapy can help with some symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, and bone loss, but there are risks, too. For some women, taking hormones can increase their chances of having a heart attack or stroke. If you decide to use hormones, use them at the lowest dose that helps for the shortest time needed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions about MHT.

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Do Women Of Color Need To Worry About Heart Disease

Yes. African American and Hispanic American/Latina women should be concerned about getting heart disease because they tend to have more risk factors than white women. These risk factors include obesity, lack of physical activity,high blood pressure, and diabetes. If you’re a woman of color, take steps to reduce your risk factors.

Womens Signs Of Heart Attack

Heart attack warning signs in women

The most common heart attack sign is chest pain or discomfort; however, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure. 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.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Heart Attack

If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.

  • 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.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • 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 Is Cardiac Arrest

    Sudden cardiac arrest occurs suddenly and often without warning. It is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat . With its pumping action disrupted, the heart cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs and other organs. Seconds later, a person loses consciousness and has no pulse. Death occurs within minutes if the victim does not receive treatment.;

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    Your Legs Feet And Ankles Are Swollen

    This could be a sign that your heart doesnât pump blood as effectively as it should.

    When the heart can’t pump fast enough, blood backs up in the veins and causes bloating.

    Heart failure can also make it harder for the kidneys to remove extra water and sodium from the body, which can lead to bloating.

    Early Signs Of A Heart Attack

    Heart Attack Symptoms: Men vs. Women

    Are your vague symptoms just fatigue or something serious? Learn the early warning signs that could signal a heart attack.


    Sutter Medical Foundation

    Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento

    Many of us have experienced that;moment. Perhaps were driving in traffic or working out at the gym when we feel a twinge in our chest, or an aggressive pulse. Or maybe we just dont feel right. We might pause at these moments and wonder if its time to hightail it the doctor or if this is normal.

    The reality is people can notice subtle heart attack symptoms months before an actual event occurs, says Sutter Zi-Jian Xu, M.D., a cardiologist in the Sutter Health network.

    Dr. Xu frequently discusses heart attack symptoms and prevention with his patients. Heres what you need to know.

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    When You See Your Doctor:

    • Bring;a list of your symptoms and when they are occurring.
    • Let them know about any related;family history.
    • Talk about stress or anything going on in your life that might contribute to a problem.

    Your doctor likely willlisten to your symptoms and check your pulse and blood pressure. They may orderblood work, which will show whether your heart is;damaged.

    They also may use an electrocardiogram ;to tell whether the electrical activity of your heart is normal, or an echocardiogram to view images of the heart to see if damage has occurred.;

    All this is important inidentifying any problems and taking steps to intervene before a possible heartattack.

    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

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    Heart Attack In Women Over 50

    Women experience significant physical changes around age 50, the age when many women start to go through menopause. During this period of life, your levels of the hormone estrogen drop. Estrogen is believed to help protect the health of your heart. After menopause, your risk of heart attack increases.

    Unfortunately, women who experience a heart attack are less likely to survive than men. Therefore, it becomes even more important to remain conscious of your heart health after you go through menopause.

    There are additional symptoms of a heart attack that women over the age of 50 may experience. These symptoms include:

    • severe chest pain

    Sweating And/or Shortness Of Breath

    Heart Attack Sign and Symptoms in Women

    As women age, a lack of exercise and gradual weight gain cause issues like shortness of breath. Hot flashes are a common complaint for many women during menopause.

    But these symptoms can signala heart problem when they happen in certain situations:

    • Sudden sweating or shortness of breath without exertion.
    • Breathlessness that continues to worsen over time after exertion.
    • Shortness of breath that worsens when lying down and improves when propping up.
    • Stress sweat when there is no;real cause for stress.
    • Sweating or shortness of breath accompanied by other symptoms such as chest pain or fatigue.

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