Heart Attack Symptoms In Women Vs Men
Women are more likely than men to have silent heart attacks and heart attacks without chest pain. Heart attacks are also more likely to start when a woman is at rest or experiencing mental stress.
That means its especially important for women to watch out for symptoms like shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, nausea or vomiting, or pain in the jaw, arms or back.
Also, we now know that young women are particularly prone to a type of heart event called a spontaneous coronary artery dissection , which we talk about in more depth below.
Cardiac Arrest Vs Heart Attack
Sometimes there is confusion between the terms “cardiac arrest” and “heart attack.” A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, is damage to the heart muscle that occurs due to reduced blood flow to the heart muscle, depriving the heart muscle of the oxygen it needs to function properly.
Cardiac arrest means that the heart stops beating and death is imminent. A heart attack, if severe, can lead to cardiac arrest, and this is what occurs when a heart attack is fatal. However, other conditions, such as serious arrhythmias or shock, can also cause cardiac arrest.
Heart Attacks In The Morning Are More Severe
Study Shows Heart Attacks in the Morning Are More Serious Than Those in Overnight Hours
Researchers reviewed data from more than 800 heart attack patients treated at a hospital cardiac center in Madrid, Spain, between 2003 and 2009. Heart attacks that occurred in the morning hours were associated with about 20% more dead heart tissue.
The study is the first to link circadian fluctuations to heart attack severity in humans. If confirmed, the findings could affect treatment and research, study researcher Borja Ibanez, MD, PhD, tells WebMD.
Ibanez is a senior investigator for Spainâs National Center for Cardiovascular Research and an interventional cardiologist at Madridâs Hospital Clinico San Carlos.
The association was quite robust,â he says. âIn our study, events that took place in the morning were associated with more damage.â
You May Like: Flonase Heart Racing
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:
Have Sex When Youre Ready
You can resume sexual activity after a heart attack when you are healthy and feel ready for it. You could be ready if you can do mild or moderate activity, like brisk walking, without having angina symptoms. Talk with your doctor if you have any concerns. Your doctor can help you know if your heart is healthy enough for sex.
If you take a nitrate, like nitroglycerin, do not take erection-enhancing medicines. Combining a nitrate with one of these medicines can cause a life-threatening drop in blood pressure.
Recommended Reading: Does Benadryl Raise Heart Rate
Read Also: Does Benadryl Increase Heart Rate
Less Likely To Be A Heart Attack
Sensation of pain, or of pressure, tightness, squeezing, or burning
Sharp or knifelike pain brought on by breathing or coughing
Gradual onset of pain over the course of a few minutes
Sudden stabbing pain that lasts only a few seconds
Pain in diffuse area, including a constant pain in middle of chest
Pain clearly on one side of the body or the other
Pain that extends to the left arm, neck, jaw, or back
Pain that is localized to one small spot
Pain or pressure accompanied by other signs, such as difficulty breathing, a cold sweat, or sudden nausea
Pain that lasts for many hours or days without any other symptoms
Pain or pressure that appears during or after physical exertion or emotional stress or while you are at rest
Pain reproduced by pressing on the chest or with body motion
How Are Heart Attacks Diagnosed
If you think you might be having a heart attack, you need to head to a hospital straight away. There, a doctor will assess your symptoms and check your vital signs blood pressure, pulse and temperature.
There are several tests that help indicate if youve had a heart attack, and whether damage was caused, such as:
- electrocardiogram electrical leads are placed on your chest, arms and legs to record the electrical signals travelling through your heart muscle
- CT scan or MRI scan
You May Like: Does Benadryl Lower Heart Rate
The Heart Becomes Strong
A heart is another muscle in your body. Physical fitness improves the strength of our body muscles, including the heart. Regular exercise of any muscle group improves its strength.
Similarly, in the case of the heart, strength is improved by heart-healthy exercises. A strong heart would be able to function properly. Heart attack prevention can be done by increasing its strength.
Five Facts About Heart Disease To Live By
1. Keep Moving
If you havent been exercising at all, its never too late to start. The older we get, we are tempted to find excuses to avoid physical activity. If exercise is new to you, talk with your doctor about which activities are preferable. Even short walks offer advantages to your heart.
According to research by the American Heart Association, physically active middle-aged adults have a low risk of sudden cardiac arrest. The results confirm that there are significant benefits to middle-agers who exercise.
If you are in your 50s, try for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. If you are in your 60s or beyond, try for 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity each week.
2. Your Age Alone May Put You at Increased Risk for Heart Disease
Your risk for heart disease increases with age, especially with people of color and for those who are over 65. While the average age for a heart attack is 64.5 for men, and 70.3 for women, nearly 20 percent of those who die of heart disease are under the age of 65.
3. Your Other Risk Factors are Important
Know your personal risk factors. Some you are born with and some you cannot control:
Risk factors that you may be able to do something about include:
Read Also: Can Flonase Cause Heart Palpitations
How A Heart Attack Affects Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the inside walls of your arteries as it circulates throughout the body. Just as heart rate changes are unpredictable during a heart attack, so too are blood pressure changes.
Because blood flow in the heart is blocked and a portion of heart tissue is denied oxygen-rich blood, your heart may not be able to pump as strongly as it normally does, thus lowering your blood pressure.
A heart attack may also trigger a response from your parasympathetic nervous system, causing your heart and the rest of your body to relax and not fight while your heart struggles to keep blood circulating. This can also cause a dip in blood pressure.
On the other hand, the pain and stress from the heart attack can raise the blood pressure during a heart attack.
Risk factors for a heart attack include modifiable factors, such as your weight, as well as those beyond your control, such as your age. Some of the most common conditions that raise your risk for a heart attack include:
- advancing age
What Do I Do If I Have A Heart Attack
After a heart attack, you need quick treatment to open the blocked artery and lessen the damage. At the first signs of a heart attack, call 911. The best time to treat a heart attack is within 1 or 2 hours after symptoms begin. Waiting longer means more damage to your heart and a lower chance of survival.
Recommended Reading: How To Calculate Target Heart Rate Zone
How Does A Heart Attack Occur
A heart attack occurs when some portion of the heart muscle is blocked and unable to receive oxygen. If the blood flow is not restored at the earliest that portion of the heart muscle commences to die.
Causes of heart attack
Most heart attacks arise due to Coronary Heart Disease , which is also known as coronary artery disease. In this condition, waxy substance accumulates within the arteries, which provide oxygen-laden blood to the heart.
The condition when plaque accumulates is known as atherosclerosis and such accumulation occurs over several years. In due course section of the plaque may open within the artery, which results in clot formed on the surface. If this clot is big, it may completely block the flow of blood through the affected artery.
Delay in the detection and treatment of the block in a timely manner, it may cause the heart muscle to die. The scar tissue replaces the heart tissue. Such heart damage is not always obvious but may result in severe long-lasting issues.
A rarer reason for a heart attack is a rigorous spasm of the artery. It may cut the flow of blood to the artery. Severe spasms may occur in healthy arteries that are not affected by plaque accumulation.
Symptoms of a heart attack
Quick action is crucial to minimize heart damage and save the patients life. It is important to provide treatment immediately when the symptoms arise. Few of the common warnings of anattack are listed below:
A Myocardial Infarction Commonly Known As A Heart Attack Occurs When The Blood Supply To The Heart Is Interrupted
Cardiac arrest vs heart attack. Sudden cardiac arrest may be caused by almost any known heart condition. What can we help you find? A myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when the blood supply to the heart is interrupted. In order to prevent heart attacks, know the symptoms of heart attack early. Historically, this condition was thought to primarily occur in men, but recent studies suggest that folks of all genders, i. Cardiac arrest may be caused by almost any known heart condition. View an article to learn the difference. Plus, he shares information about the difference between a h. A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked, and sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly.
A myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when the blood supply to the heart is interrupted. Heart attacks happen when there is a loss of blood flow to the heart, usually caused by a blockage or build up. Cardiac arrest and heart attacks are both serious heart failures, but they are actually two different things. But knowing the differences between the two may save your life. Heart attacks and cardiac arrest are both serious heart ailments.
Your Heart Rate Isnt Always Predictable
How this cardiac event affects the heart rate isnt always predictable.
Certain medications may slow your heart rate
For example, if youre on a medication that slows your heart rate, such as a beta-blocker for heart disease, your heart rate may remain slow during a heart attack. Or if you have a type of heart rhythm disturbance called bradycardia, in which your heart rate is perpetually slower than normal, a heart attack may do nothing to increase the rate.
There are certain types of heart attacks that can lead to an abnormal slowing of the heart rate because they affect the electrical tissue cells of the heart.
Tachycardia may speed your heart rate
On the other hand, if you have tachycardia, in which your heart always or frequently beats abnormally fast, then that pattern could continue during a heart attack. Or, certain types of heart attacks can cause the heart rate to increase.
Finally, if you have some other condition thats causing your heart to beat fast, such as sepsis or infection, then it could be causing the stress on your heart rather than being a result of the blockage to blood flow.
Many people live with tachycardia and have no other symptoms or complications. However, if you consistently have a rapid resting heart rate, you should absolutely have your cardiovascular health evaluated.
- a vague sense of impending doom
If you think you or a loved one may be having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.
What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Attack
The major symptoms of a heart attack are
- Chest pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
- Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint. You may also break out into a cold sweat.
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders.
- Shortness of breath. This often comes along with chest discomfort, but shortness of breath also can happen before chest discomfort.
Other symptoms of a heart attack could include unusual or unexplained tiredness and nausea or vomiting. Women are more likely to have these other symptoms. Learn more about women and heart disease.
Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack.1Learn more facts about heart attack and heart disease.
Complications Of A Heart Attack
Complications of a heart attack can be serious and possibly life threatening.
- arrhythmias these are abnormal heartbeats. 1 type is where the heart begins beating faster and faster, then stops beating
- cardiogenic shock where the heart’s muscles are severely damaged and can no longer contract properly to supply enough blood to maintain many body functions
- heart rupture where the heart’s muscles, walls or valves split apart
These complications can happen quickly after a heart attack and are a leading cause of death.
Many people die suddenly from a complication of a heart attack before reaching hospital or within the 1st month after a heart attack.
The outlook often depends on:
- age serious complications are more likely as you get older
- the severity of the heart attack how much of the heart’s muscle has been damaged during the attack
- how long it took before a person received treatment treatment for a heart attack should begin as soon as possible
Life After A Heart Attack
Coming home after a heart attack may be unsettling. Your hospital stay may have seemed too short. You may be nervous about being home without doctors and nurses after being so closely watched in the hospital.
But you have had tests that tell your doctor that it is safe for you to return home. Now that you’re home, you can take steps to live a healthy lifestyle to reduce the chance of having another heart attack.
Recommended Reading: Ibs Heart Palpitations
How Does A Heart Attack Happen
Let’s say that you nick your arm. The platelets in your bloodstream race to your wound and then clump together and harden. A bumpy scab soon appears – from the platelets, fibrin and plasma that keep you bleeding to death.
The same thing happens inside your body when you have a heart attack. A piece of plaque, perhaps 40 years in the making, gets knocked about by materials in the bloodstream whizzing by – and the jostling causes the plaque to rupture.
The platelets rush to the rescue, piling on the damaged plaque – forming a clot. In minutes the clot does what plaque and cholesterol could not accomplish for decades: The clot blocks your artery, depriving the heart muscle of oxygen and killing heart tissue. That, in short, is how a heart attack happens.
Next, your nervous system freaks out and you begin sweating, your heart rate increases and your skin feels clammy. You begin to feel weak and nauseated. While these side effects do not seem helpful, they may actually save your life.
Research has shown that people who sweat profusely while they are having a heart attack are more likely to seek immediate treatment – which gives them a better chance of survival.
Why Choose The Hospitals Of Providence For Your Early Heart Attack Care
The Hospitals of Providence has EHAC teams who genuinely care about you and your loved ones. Our hospitals are located across El Paso to provide accessible care to the communities in this city and nearby areas. At the same time, we have received multiple recognitions for the compassionate care and patient-centered cardiovascular services we offer.
Some of the accreditations and recognitions we received in recent years are as follows:
For Sierra Campus
- Chest Pain Reaccreditation by the Society of Cardiovascular Care
- ACC HeartCARE Center Designation by the American College of Cardiology
- Grade A rating for patient safety in the Leapfrog Groups Fall 2019 Safety Score
Recommended Reading: Can Ibs Cause Heart Palpitations