Heart Attack Symptoms: Women Vs Men
Women may experience classic symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath as many men do, but they also tend to experience stomach pain, back pain, and other non-classic symptoms.
Because of the subtlety in those symptoms, many women brush off these warning signs and already have heart damage by the time they get to the Emergency Department.
And many women put their families before their own health. But you cant take care of your loved ones if your own health is not where it needs to be.
What Are Atypical Symptoms
Typical symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain or pressure, heart palpitations, cold sweats and shortness of breath. For othersmost commonly among women, the elderly and diabeticstheir symptoms may be more subtle or dont involve the chest at all.
Rather than having crushing substernal chest pains or a feeling of an elephant sitting on my chest seen in men, women may present differently, Dr. Cooper said.
Atypical symptoms of a heart attack may include fatigue, shortness of breath, discomfort in the throat, jaw, neck, arms, back and stomacha feeling described almost like a muscle pull or pain. The problem may also present like indigestion or heartburn and can even mimic other gastrointestinal issues.
Signs That Heartburn Is A Warning Of Something More Serious
Heartburn is often not serious and will go away on its own or with over-the-counter medications. If you have heartburn that occurs with other symptoms, it could be a sign of a more serious problem. These symptoms may include:
Shortness of breath
Increased heart rate
If you have heartburn or chest pain with any of these symptoms, it is important to get immediate medical attention. This is because these symptoms could mean there is a more serious cause that requires urgent treatment.
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What Are The Causes For Atypical Chest Pains
Common causes for atypical chest pain include gastrointestinal, respiratory and musculoskeletal diseases. It is also not uncommon for people with anxiety or panic attacks to think theyre having a heart attack.
Diseases of the heart, aorta, lungs, esophagus, stomach, abdominal viscera and muscuskeletal system may all cause chest discomfort and pain, Dr. Cooper said. One of the most common musculoskeletal causes for atypical chest pain we see in adults is costochondritis.
Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects your ribs to the breastbone. It causes tenderness or pain and can get worse with deep breaths or coughing.
That said, even if there is a less severe cause for atypical chest pains, in general, chest pain is a big deal in medicinesomething you should never brush off or take lightly. Why? Because when it comes to a heart attack, time is tissue.
The longer it takes to diagnose and treat an acute coronary syndrome or heart attack, the more permanent damage is done to the heart and the less likely the patient is to have a favorable outcome or even survive, Dr. Cooper said. Even if you have been in the ER 10 times before for a suspected heart attack, with nothing found except anxiety, its a heart attack until proven otherwise.
Mallorca: He Mimics A Heart Attack The Plane Lands In An Emergency More Than 20 People Flee On The Tarmac
It is against a background of illegal immigration that an unprecedented scene unfolded on the tarmac at Palma de Mallorca airport, in Spain, this Friday evening.
Its a completely incredible scene that was played out at Palma de Mallorca this Friday November 5 at the end of the day. While a plane was providing a link between Morocco and Turkey, a passenger suddenly started to heart failure. According to Spanish police, he appeared to be suffering from a diabetic coma.
Faced with the situation, the crew decided to land the aircraft urgently at Palma de Mallorca airport in the Balearic archipelago. The man is then immediately transferred to the hospital. But at the same time on the tarmac, 24 people run away from the plane.
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Your Muscles Are Sore
Chronic pain syndromes, such as fibromyalgia, can cause the kind of muscle-related chest pain thats easy to mistake for a heart attack. Symptoms vary, but many people report intense, sharp, or stabbing pain in the chest and ribcage. When fibromyalgia causes inflammation of the cartilage that joins the upper ribs to the breastbone, it results in costochondritis.
Is Broken Heart Syndrome Dangerous
Broken heart syndrome can be life threatening. In some cases, it can cause severe heart muscle weakness resulting in:
- Potentially life-threatening heart rhythm abnormalities
The good news is that this condition can improve very quickly if patients are under the care of doctors familiar with the syndrome. Even people who are critically ill with this condition tend to recover.
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Heart Attack Or Pinched Nerve
I recently had a conversation with an out-of-state friend who related the following:
I was thinking about calling you a couple months ago. I had this horrible pain down my left arm and then I started to feel pain and a tingling sensation in my elbow. When my fingers started to feel tingly and kind of numb I was convinced I must be having a heart attack. I went to the emergency room and was relieved to find out it wasnt a heart attack but they had no idea what it could be. I went to see a neurologist, an orthopedist, an internist, etc. They did all these different tests blood tests, MRIs, CAT scans, etc. I spent tons of time and money and no one could figure out the problem. They gave me pain killers and muscle relaxants but nothing worked. I wasnt able to sleep. It was awful. Finally, I went to a local chiropractor. Do you know what it was? I had a pinched nerve in my neck. After doing some traction and a few adjustments the pain, tingling, and numbness were gone! Her last commentI should have called you right away!! It would have saved me a lot in pain & suffering, time, and money!
Its common for us to leap to the worst case scenario when we have unexplained pain. And I cannot stress enough that if you ever even suspect you may be having a heart attack, go to the emergency room IMMEDIATELY or call 911. If it is a heart attack, minutes count.
Stress Cardiomyopathy: A Different Kind Of Heart Attack
- By Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., M.P.H, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter
Most heart attacks are due to coronary arteries being blocked by blood clots that form when plaques of cholesterol rupture. The lack of blood flow through the blocked arteries results in heart muscle dying hence the name “heart attack.” However, there is another form of heart attack called takotsubo cardiomyopathy.
Over the past few years, physicians have come to recognize and better understand this form of heart attack. This unusual type of heart attack does not involve rupturing plaques or blocked blood vessels. It is called takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or stress cardiomyopathy. Japanese doctors, who were the first to describe this condition, named it “takotsubo” because during this disorder, the heart takes on a distinctive shape that resembles a Japanese pot used to trap an octopus. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy was commonly believed to be caused by sudden emotional stress, such as the death of a child, and to be far less harmful than a typical heart attack. For that reason, some had also labeled this condition “broken-heart syndrome.”
As awareness of takotsubo cardiomyopathy increases among physicians and patients, I suspect we will be recognizing even more cases of takotsubo cardiomyopathy in the future. The condition certainly does not appear to be as rare as was suspected, nor as harmless as had been believed.
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Panic Attacks Vs Heart Attacks
One of the most difficult things that people with panic disorder face is understanding their symptoms. For example, when you experience a panic attack, you are likely to fear that you are dying. This is because the symptoms of panic attacks can very convincingly mimic symptoms of heart attacks and many other life threatening illnesses. Because chest pains and shortness of breath are such common complaints with panic attacks, the assumption that a heart attack is imminent is understandable. When comparing panic attacks vs heart attacks, there are some differences that stand out to help tell them apart.
What Happens To Blood Pressure During A Heart Attack
During a heart attack, the blood flow to a portion of your heart is blocked. Sometimes, this can lead to your blood pressure decreasing. In some people, there may be little change to your blood pressure at all. In other cases, there may be an increase in blood pressure.
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You Have Stomach Ulcers
Because pain can radiate from the stomach to the chest, the pain of stomach ulcers may manifest as chest pain. Anything from the mouth down to the stomach can be the cause of chest pains, Dr. Weinberg says. Youll need to be evaluated by your physician to determine whether or not your chest pains are from ulcers, but if you have a history of stomach ulcers, this is a likely cause.
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When Should You Seek Medical Attention
If youre older, if youve had a heart attack in the past, a family history of heart disease and if your chest pain is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, such as shortness of breath and dizziness, call 911 or get to the ER right away. If youre young and healthy, with no history of heart disease, you should also check in with your healthcare provider.
Bottom line: If you think youre having a heart attack, you may very well be, Dr. Cooper warned. Because a heart attack can be deadly, you dont want to roll the dice on this one. If it turns out your chest pains are due to something less seriousgreat! You will be reassured you arent having a heart attack. But at least you took the appropriate steps to find out.
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Conditions That Can Mimic A Heart Attack
If youve ever suffered from chest pain, the thought of whether or not youre in the midst of a heart attack has probably crossed your mind at least once. When it comes to whos at risk of having a heart attack, there are many factors that come into play, such as age, hypertension, tobacco use, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and there being a history of heart attacks in your family. That being said, it is possible for even the healthiest of people to have heart attacks, as you may not even be aware of certain conditions that could increase your risk. For example, there is a certain condition known as metabolic syndrome that doesnt always come with symptoms. You can read more about metabolic syndrome here. The most common sign that you may be having a heart attack is chest pain and, even if you think its not a heart attack, its still important that you call 911 if you are experiencing this or any other symptoms As always, the most important thing that you can do to ensure you are in good health is to have regular check-ups with your family physician.
It is also important to note that there are many other conditions that can mimic symptoms similar to that of a heart attack, which can include the following:
Pulmonary embolism Musculoskeletal pain Psychological disorders
Below is a more in-depth look at these conditions, their symptoms, and how they are treated.
How To Tell The Difference Between A Heart Attack And A Panic Attack
The best way to tell the difference is to simply visit the doctor and have your heart tested. If your heart is in good health, it’s very unlikely you are suffering from a heart attack, especially if you have signs of anxiety. The good news is that there are plenty of easy tests to rule out any serious heart problems.
Beyond that, there are very minute differences in the symptoms. Examples include:
- Chest pain from anxiety tends to be more localized and sharp, while heart attacks radiate and are often duller.
- Panic attacks rarely cause vomiting – a somewhat common symptom of heart attacks, although not in all of those that experience one.
- Panic attacks tend to be more systematic. They generally peak about 10 minutes in and then there is a slow and steady decline. Heart attacks can follow this same pattern, but it’s less common.
Otherwise, the best thing to do is get your heart checked and learn whether or not you’re suffering from any heart problems. If not, then you’re experiencing anxiety attacks.
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Symptoms Of False Heart Attack: Conditions That Mimic Heart Attack Symptoms
One of the most dangerous health situations that a person can come across is a heart attack which proves fatal in several cases and can also cause permanent damage. However, sometimes, a heart attack can be a false one and you may not know what to do in such a situation. Know the symptoms of a false heart attack and what to do when such a thing occurs.
The major cause of a heart attack is the death of the muscles of the heart when they are unable to get sufficient oxygen and blood supply. It is the result of a coronary artery blockage as these arteries are the major vessel which provides the heart muscles with blood. If there is any disruption in the flow of blood to these muscles, it can result in instant death of the person. The vessels of the coronary artery either get blocked or become narrow in size if fatty plaques get deposited on the inner walls of the vessels.
One of the major symptoms of a heart attack is pain in the chest. Since such a symptom also occurs in many other diseases and conditions, some people neglect the issue and do not seek medical attention which can sometimes prove fatal for them.
Arm Back Neck Jaw Or Stomach Pain Or Discomfort
Heart attack pain may not be confined to the chest area. Pain or discomfort in your arm, back, neck, jaw, or stomach can also be heart attack-related.
But many people do not associate pain in these areas with having a heart attack which may prevent them from getting immediate medical attention.
Some head-to-toe signs of a heart attack include:
- Jaw, neck, or back pain
- Arm or shoulder pain or discomfort
- Shortness of breath
If you feel sudden discomfort in these areas, call 9-1-1.
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Why Panic Attacks Seem Like Heart Attacks
Panic attacks manifest themselves in many different ways, and can literally cause you to feel anything. Many people think that the symptoms are âin their headâ or otherwise imagined and nothing could be further from the truth. The symptoms are real, but they are usually not caused by what is feared. This is the case when you fear a heart attack during a panic attack. With a panic attack you might feel the following symptoms that are similar to a heart attack:
- Chest Pains
- Tingling in the Extremities, Face, or Body
- Sense of Impending Doom
All of these things are remarkably similar to the symptoms of a heart attack. When you really get out your microscope, however, you can see some clear differences.
What To Do If You Experience False Heart Attack Symptoms
It is a common practice to seek immediate medical attention if you have chest pain but only 60 percent of such cases are actually diagnosed with a real heart attack. In almost 40 percent cases, the symptoms experienced are the symptoms of a false heart attack and may occur due to other conditions such as gallbladder issues, pneumonia or muscle spasm in the chest.
The best thing to do is to determine whether you are suffering from real or false heart attack symptoms is to get an ECG or echo-cardiogram test done. The associated symptoms too give an idea of the condition but an ECG can exactly differentiate between a false heart attack and a real one.
However, it is always better to get diagnosed and seek medical help if you experience any kind of symptoms which suggest a heart attack. Waiting too long to check whether the symptoms are that of a real heart attack or false one can be life threatening in some cases.
Once you know what the symptoms of a false heart attack are, you will be able to judge quite well whether you are experiencing a real or false heart attack. However, there is no harm in seeking immediate medical help and confirming your doubt at the earliest by getting an ECG test done. Timely medical advice can help you get the right treatment and can help to prevent recurrence in future.
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Panic Attacks Vs Heart Attack
According to MentalNeurologicalPrimaryCare.org, the pain of a heart attack usually presents as a crushing pain that feels like someone is standing on your chest. With other causes, such as panic attacks, the pain is usually much more variable in nature. Panic attacks will present as a sharp or stabbing sensation. The pain with a heart attack also tends to be centrally located in the chest, and then can move to the left arm, back, shoulders or neck. Panic attacks usually involve pain that lingers over the heart, though it can mimic the movement into the arm, back and neck as well. Cardiac pain usually lasts longer than pain from a panic attack, as panic attack pain will often disappear after 15 minutes or so.