Heart attack symptoms can occur in different forms, asides from pain in the chest. One can prevent fatal consequences by knowing the common symptoms of heart attack in women.
Oftentimes, the media, especially movies and magazines, portray symptoms of heart attack with the picture of someone clutching their chest in pain. And the individual is usually an old person, maybe around 60 years upwards. But that’s not the case when it comes to heart attack symptoms.
Heart disease is a major cause of death in women and the symptoms of a heart attack may not take the form of someone holding their chest in severe pain.
What Is a Heart Attack?
When you go for a medical check-up at the hospital and you overhear a doctor mention ‘heart attack’, what comes to mind? What does it mean for someone to have a heart attack? It’s simple!
Usually, blood flows to the region of the heart muscle, just like it flows to other parts of the body. A heart attack occurs when there’s a limited flow of blood to the region of the heart muscle, which is injurious to that region. If the blood supply is not restored on time, the region may die off.
Some people are at risk of having a heart attack than others. They include those who have diabetes, high cholesterol, a family history of heart disease, a smoking history, obesity, or even overweight.
Even though you may have held the belief that heart attack affects the elders, this is far from the truth. Anyone can have a heart attack at any time, especially those who are susceptible to the condition.
To reduce the chances of having a heart attack, you need to be mindful of your health and daily activities. Eat well, rest, maintain a healthy weight, reduce your intake of sugar, exercise, and maintain a good cholesterol balance.
Compared to men, women are prone to have a heart attack. Even though chest pain is common to both gender, women tend to experience the usual heart attack symptoms than men. This means it wouldn’t be an easy task to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack if you are having one.
This may be the reason women don’t seek medical help when experiencing a cardiac event, thereby preventing treatment which might lead to sudden death. Women are more likely to die of a heart attack than men.
What Are ‘Silent’ Heart Attacks?
Sometimes, a patient may experience symptoms of a heart attack and not know. That’s because the symptoms are mild and they resolve spontaneously. This condition is called a silent heart attack.
Diabetic patients, older patients, and those who have difficulty communicating are prone to have a silent heart attack.
Without knowing the symptoms of a heart attack, it might be impossible for you to take the necessary steps when experiencing one. If you experience any of the symptoms listed below, especially when they are severe, call for medical assistance.
Here are the common symptoms of heart attack in women you shouldn’t take with levity.
1. A Racing Heart and Shortness of Breath
Normally, after completing an exercise or performing strenuous activity, your heart may be racing. This is quite normal and is nothing to worry about.
But, what is abnormal is having trouble breathing or not being able to take a full breath without performing strenuous activity. This may be a symptom of a heart attack.
Another thing you should watch out for is when your heart suddenly skips a bit, with no obvious reasons. Women tend to experience these symptoms than men.
Shortness of breath is often the first symptom of a heart attack, but most people don’t take it seriously. Even if you are sure it’s not a heart attack, go for a medical check-up if you can’t catch your breath for more than sixty seconds or more.
2. Pain, Fullness, or Pressure in the Chest
Sometimes when you carry a heavy load, you can feel some pains in the chest which goes away with time. But when you feel a full or painful sensation in your chest without a cause, it’s a symptom of a heart attack.
Note that the sensation may go for a while and come back and might be mild or severe. Some people might describe the sensation as a load resting on their chest which makes it painful. That’s a symptom you shouldn’t ignore if you feel this way.
3. Nausea, Cold Sweats, and Lightheadedness
Do you suddenly feel nauseous all of a sudden without being pregnant or feel like you have the flu? It’s likely a common symptom of a heart attack in women.
When you feel like throwing up all the time or just lightheaded without figuring out why, book an appointment with your doctor. These symptoms are common to women than men.
Note that your temperature might be stable while experiencing these symptoms, which is another reason you shouldn’t postpone a doctor’s appointment.
4. Pain in the Arms, Neck, Jaw Stomach, or Back
When the blood flow is restricted from certain parts of the body, it can result in pain. People who experience pains and discomfort in the arms, shoulders, jaw, back and stomach describe it as intense.
Regardless of where you feel the pain, if it’s severe and interfering with your daily activities, that’s a symptom you shouldn’t manage.
It’s convenient to assume the pain is probably due to stress from work or exercise and to take some painkillers. However, if the pain becomes worse every day without any obvious cause, see your doctor.
5. Chronic Fatigue
Several things cause fatigue ranging from stress at work, taking care of a baby, not sleeping well, or performing a strenuous activity constantly.
When you feel sudden exhaustion, making you stay in bed a day long, and affecting your ability to perform daily tasks, it could be a heart attack symptom.
Sometimes, certain illnesses can cause fatigue thereby causing inactivity. But if you’ve ruled out illnesses, don’t hesitate to contact your health care provider.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of heart attack in women listed above, call 911 or go to the hospital on time.
Aspirin is known to dissolve a blood clot before it damages the heart, so you can take the medicine at that moment.
Don’t wait until symptoms get worse before taking an action. Act fast.
Part of the Diet for Weight Loss Editorial Team 2021