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What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Attacks In Women

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The Symptoms Of A Heart Attack Are Different For Women Knowing How To Spot Them Could Save Lives

Heart attack signs and symptoms in women

In the movies, a heart attack is a dramatic event. The victim clutches their chest and falls to the ground. In real life, though, the signs of a heart attack may be silent, or not nearly so obvious, especially for women.

Cardiovascular disease is the no. 1 cause of death in women, accounting for one in three female deaths each year. According to the American Heart Association, 80% of cardiovascular disease may be prevented.

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with heart disease, you can get support from your Asuris health plan. Many plans include Care Management, which can help you learn more about your disease and understand your treatment options.

Learning the signs of heart attacks in women can save lives. Learning how to prevent heart attacks can, too.

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

Changes In Your Ability To Exercise

One major warning sign is a lower exercise tolerance. You used to be able to walk up the stairs quickly, but now you feel very breathless. You may have to stop halfway and take a rest. You should take that very seriously, warned Haythe.

I found one of the most helpful questions as a doctor when someone comes in and says theyre breathless, I say, think back. Can you do it earlier this summer or last summer, because you cant do that now? Hayes said that.

If so, it might be time for a cardiac evaluation.

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Heart Attack Symptoms In Women

If you have any of these signs, call 911 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.
  • Women Warned To Be On Lookout For Symptoms Of Deadly Condition That They Probably Think Only Affects Men

    • Claire O’Reilly
    • 21:50, 5 Sep 2022

    IF you think heart attack, you probably imagine a middle-aged bloke clutching his chest while he drops to the floor.

    Thats the standard image on TV. But heart attacks kill 77 women every day in the UK and women are 50 per cent more likely to be wrongly diagnosed when it comes to coronary problems.

    Dr Allyah Abbas-Hanif, honorary senior clinical lecturer at Imperial College London, says the gender disparity has led to worrying misdiagnosis and delays for women, tragically leading to thousands of women unnecessarily dying.

    New research from Imperial suggests 12,000 women in the UK were misdiagnosed and missed out on critical heart disease care in the last two decades, leading to deaths that could have been prevented.

    The study also found that five per cent of women having a heart attack were wrongly classified as not at high risk of death.

    Below, we show you symptoms to look out for while one woman tells how signs of her heart attack were missed.

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    What Is A Silent Heart Attack

    A silent heart attack is a heart attack that does not cause obvious symptoms. Your doctor may discover a silent heart attack days, weeks, or months later on an electrocardiogram test used to diagnose a heart problem.

    Silent heart attack:

    • Is more common in women than in men
    • Can happen to women younger than 65. Younger women who have silent heart attacks without chest pain are more likely to die compared to younger men who have silent heart attacks without chest pain.2
    • Is more likely to happen in women with diabetes. Diabetes can change how you sense pain, making you less likely to notice heart attack symptoms.3

    Do Women Experience Different Heart Attack Symptoms

    It is important to remember that everyone experiences different heart attack symptoms. The symptoms of a subsequent heart attack may be different from the first.

    Women are more likely than men to experience heart attack symptoms without chest discomfort. If they do have tightness, pressure or discomfort in the chest, this discomfort may not always be severe or even the most noticeable symptom.

    Sometimes a person can have no heart attack symptoms at all. In these cases the heart attack isn’t diagnosed until it is picked up by a clinician at a later date. This is sometimes called a silent heart attack.

    Also Check: What Does A High Heart Rate Mean

    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.

    How Is A Heart Attack Diagnosed

    Women’s Heart Attack Symptoms

    To diagnose a heart attack, a doctor will ask you about your symptoms, your health, and your family health history. The doctor will also order tests.

    Doctors often use these types of tests to diagnose a heart attack and choose the best treatment.

    • Blood tests. During a heart attack, heart muscle cells die and burst open. This process releases proteins into your blood. Heart attack blood tests measure the amount of these protein “markers” of heart damage. Common heart attack blood tests include:
    • Cardiac troponin . This is the most common blood test. This marker is released from the injured heart muscle. It is not found in the blood of healthy people. Troponin levels go up three to six hours after your heart attack starts, so the test may not find a heart attack right away.
    • Creatine Kinase-MB . The CKMB test measures the amount of damage to the heart because of blocked blood flow. The test can tell whether treatments to restore blood flow to the heart are working. CKMB levels rise about four to six hours after a heart attack starts and peak 24 hours later.
    • Myoglobin. This test helps diagnose a heart attack in the very early stages. After a heart attack, myoglobin levels rise within one to four hours but peak after 12 hours.
  • Coronary angiography , or angiogram. This test takes pictures of a dye flowing through your blood vessels. By watching how smoothly the dye flows, doctors can locate narrowed or blocked coronary arteries that might need to be opened, or find other problems.
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    Heart Attack And Women

    A heart attack happens when blood flow in an artery to the heart is blocked by a blood clot or plaque, and the heart muscle begins to die. Women are more likely than men to die after a heart attack. But if you get help quickly, treatment can save your life and prevent permanent damage to your heart.

    What To Do During A Heart Attack

    According to Go Red for Women, if you experience heart attack signs or symptoms:

    • Do not wait to call for help. Dial 9-1-1, make sure to follow the operator’s instructions and get to a hospital right away.
    • Do not drive yourself. Have someone drive you to the hospital, unless you have no other choice.
    • Try to stay as calm as possible and take deep, slow breaths while you wait for the emergency responders.

    Women often misdiagnose the symptoms of a heart attack because theyâre unaware of the signs or they consider themselves healthy and donât think it could happen to them. Thatâs why itâs so important to learn about heart disease and stroke, know your numbers, live a heart-healthy lifestyle and be aware of the risk factors of heart disease.

    © 2022 Asuris Northwest Health.

    Don’t Miss: Warning Signs Of Heart Attack For Women

    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.
  • Symptoms Of Heart Attacks For Women

    Know the Signs of a Heart Attack

    You detect a few more points concerning the symptoms of heart attacks when it hits a lady, between which we can mention the following:

    Nausea here is a key player.


    Symptoms of heart attacks would let a woman feel severe abdominal pain.

    Accordingly, you can easily imagine how the symptoms of heart attacks could be mixed up with other cases. Especially when were talking about vomiting, nausea, and sweating, which are very common in many other diseases and health conditions.

    General Symptoms Of Blood Clots

    Blood clots could be formed in different locations around the body similar to heart attacks, many other organs could be critically affected. We can mention lungs and brain, yet legs and arms clots couldnt be neglected.

    Therefore, were going to list some of the main symptoms of blood clots concerning every organ as follows.

    Arm & Leg Clots Symptoms

    Usually, clots would take place at the lower leg part, leading to many other symptoms, such as:

    Arm or leg swelling

    Pain in the arm or leg that has the clot

    Arm or leg tissues could be more tender

    Warm skin around the clot area

    Red skin

    Clot volume would matter. The more it gets bigger, the more severe symptoms could be small clots could not develop any symptoms, yet the bigger ones could lead to a full swelling arm or leg and extreme pain.

    Arms & leg clots are more likely to develop on one side at a time, and its so rare to have them on both sides simultaneously.

    Abdominal Clots Symptoms

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    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.

    What Is The Difference Between A Heart Attack And Cardiac Arrest

    A heart attack is not the same as cardiac arrest. In a heart attack, the heart keeps beating. The person has a pulse and usually stays conscious . During cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating. The person has no pulse and is unconscious .

    A defibrillator is a machine that sends an electrical shock to the heart to restore normal rhythm. This treatment must be given as soon as possible. For cardiac arrest, call 911 and begin CPR right away. The American Heart Association says that with “hands only” CPR, anyone can give lifesaving treatment to someone having cardiac arrest. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest and keep going until emergency personnel arrive. Do not give CPR for a heart attack.

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    Heart Disease Is The Leading Cause Of Death For Women In Australia And Globally

    Heart disease includes any condition that affects the normal functioning of the heart, and includes coronary artery disease that causes heart attacks, arrhythmias, heart failure and heart valve problems.

    It is too often perceived as a common illness among middle-aged men, but in fact, the risk of heart problems increases significantly once women reach menopause. In fact, there are some heart diseases, such as SCAD and FMD, which affect women more than they do men.

    What Should I Do If I Have Heart Attack Symptoms

    Heart Attack Signs for Women

    If you think you, or someone else, may be having a heart attack, call 911 right away. Do not drive yourself to the hospital, and do not let a friend drive you. You may need medical help on the way to the hospital. Ambulance workers are trained to treat you on the way to the emergency room.

    Getting to the hospital quickly is important. Treatments for opening clogged arteries work best within the first hour after a heart attack starts.

    If you think you’re having a heart attack, get emergency help right away. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are overreacting or to wait and see. Get tips on how best to describe your symptoms and how to ask for tests that can show whether you’re having a heart attack.

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    Symptoms Of Stroke 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.

    Some People Have Muscle Aches During A Heart Attack

    Although chest pain is “the most common presenting sign,” some people experience other pain, Dr. Stacey Rosen, cardiologist and senior vice president for the Katz Institute for Women’s Health at Northwell Health, told Insider.

    Less common symptoms of a heart attack include muscle aches around the back and shoulders, indigestion or heartburn, fainting spells, and confusion, Rosen said.

    According to a review of seven studies cited in the report on the early stages of acute coronary syndrome which is a group of conditions that heart attacks fall under early symptoms also include disturbed sleep, headaches, anxiety, and gastrointestinal problems.

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    When Should You Call 911 For A Heart Problem

    At certain times, calling 911 right away is a must. If youre having chest pressure or chest tightness that started that day, you should not wait to go to your general practitioner, says Dr. Cho. Go to the emergency room.

    You should also call 911 and get help right away if you have chest pain or discomfort along with any of the following symptoms, especially if they last longer than five minutes:

    • Pain or discomfort in other areas of the upper body, including the arms, left shoulder, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
    • Sweating or cold sweat.
    • Light-headedness, dizziness, extreme weakness or anxiety.
    • Rapid or irregular heartbeats.

    What Exactly Is A Heart Attack

    Important! Heart Attack Symptoms in Women Infographic

    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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