Heart attack symptoms in women are different from men. Most people, even doctors think that “chest pain” is the main symptom. The studies are different from this false idea. Women’s heart attack symptoms are often misdiagnosed because of their presentation which differs from men’s.
Definition of heart attack
- A heart attack occurs when there is a severe blockage in an artery that carries oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle.
- The blockage is usually caused by the buildup of plaque (deposits of fat-like substances, or atherosclerosis) along the walls of the arteries.
- The sudden lack of blood flow to the heart muscle reduces the heart of needed oxygen and nutrients. If the blockage is not opened quickly, the heart muscle is likely to suffer serious, permanent damage as areas of tissue die.
- The medical term for a heart attack is acute myocardial infarction.
- Acute means sudden, myo refers to muscle, and cardia refers to the heart. The myocardium is the medical name for the heart muscle.
- Infarct means that (heart) tissue has been destroyed or killed because of the clogging of the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the heart.
Heart Attack in women
- Heart disease – the cause of heart attack – is the #1 killer of both men and women in the United States.
- The onset symptoms of a heart attack in women are later than men due to the protective effects of female hormones(estrogen) before menopause(cessation of the menstrual cycle).
- Women are also more likely to have additional health conditions (such as diabetes and high blood pressure) that increase their risk for more heart attack incidence.
Female Heart Attack Symptoms
As per studies and statistics, symptoms of a heart attack in women are different from men.99% of people think that chest pain is the major symptom. But it may be correct for men.
The following symptoms are found both in men and women.
- Chest discomfort, uncomfortable pressure over the chest,
- fullness of chest
- squeezing of chest
- pain in the center of the chest,
- spreading pain to inner side of left arm(occasionally right arm),
- Pain over the upper back,
- Radiating pain to the jaw,
- Radiating pain over the neck region
- Upper part the stomach(epigastric region)-In this condition usually women are misdiagnosed as they are suffering from gastritis and treated with antacids.
- Nausea or vomiting
- Chest pain(30% only)
Heart attack symptoms in women about 30% of them reported chest pain and discomfort prior to a heart attack, and 43% didn’t experience chest pain during one. Most doctors consider chest pain the most important heart attack symptom for both men and women, but the women’s most frequently reported early warning symptoms were
- unusual fatigue (70.7%),
- Sleep disturbance (47.8%),
- Shortness of breath (42.1%).
This finding may help women and their doctors more accurately identify the early warning symptoms of a heart attack in women so that they can better forestall or prevent the attacks.
Signs and Symptoms of Forthcoming Heart Attack in Women
Major heart attack symptoms in women preceding the attack in order of reported frequency include:
- Unusual fatigue — 70%
- Sleep disturbance — 48%
- Shortness of breath — 42%
- Indigestion — 39%
- Anxiety — 35%
Signs and Symptoms of an Impending Heart Attack in Women
Major acute symptoms during a heart attack in women in order of reported frequency include:
- Shortness of breath — 58%
- Weakness — 55%
- Unusual fatigue — 43%
- Cold sweat — 39%
- Dizziness — 39%
Conclusion-Women and heart attack symptoms
As a physician in my clinical practice, I have seen many female patients who come for drowsiness or gastritis problem were diagnosed as having a heart attack by ECG (Electrocardiogram).
Doctors should take extra care in the diagnosis of heart attack symptoms in women.
Proper treatment should be started as early as possible. Because most of the death has occurred in 1 to 2 hours.
Various mild to severe heart attack symptoms are seen in different stages.
The Investigation Echocardiogram is being done to rule Heart Attacks with Heart Failure.
Also Read: – Causes of Heart Attack | Causes of Heart Failure