Most people think of heart attacks and other heart-related diseases as men’s problem. It’s a myth!
In fact, in age group 55+, women have greater chances of suffering a heart attack than have men, and death within first 5 years of suffering a heart attack is as much as 11 percent more likely in women than in men. Why, then, the misconception?One possible reason is that since symptoms of heart attack in men and women are different, most women don’t realize that they are suffering a heart attack. Below are the major symptoms that women experience when they suffer a heart attack:
Chest Pain or Discomfort
The chest pain is the quintessential symptom of a heart attack among both, men and women. However, the way it manifests, and the specific region in which it is experienced may vary among men and women. Women are more likely to feel an uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest, which may last for a few minutes, or are recurrent in nature.Unlike men who predominantly feel the pain on the left side or center-left, women can feel the pain anywhere in the chest, not just on the left side.
Pain in Arms, Back, Neck, or Jaw
Most men will experience pain that is concentrated on the left side of the chest, whereas women can feel pain in other areas as well, which results in them not realizing the severity of the situation. That said, the pain is usually intense enough to go unnoticed – if you are asleep, it will often wake you up. Cardiologists even go to the extent of advising women to report any out of the ordinary sensation in their body from waist up.
Most people will not associate stomach pain with a heart attack, often attributing it to the flu, heartburn, or an ulcer in the stomach. But women may experience severe abdominal pressure when they are suffering a heart attack. The pressure can be intense enough for it to be likened with an elephant sitting on your stomach; although I can’t imagine how anyone can have an elephant sit on their stomach, and live to describe the pain.
Difficulty in Breathing
A difficulty in breathing that occurs for no apparent reason is one of the surest signs of an episode of the heart attack. A heart attack occurs when the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle is disrupted due to blockages in the coronary arteries, and it is this disruption in the supply of oxygenated blood that causes breathlessness, dizziness, and loss of consciousness. If you’re also having one or more of the other symptoms, call for help immediately.
Women suffering a heart attack may also sweat profusely for no apparent reason, which is often out of character for them. Typically a cold sweat, this will often feel more like sweating from nervousness than from exercising or spending time in the heat. This condition is medically known as diaphoresis and is caused due to the over-activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn is actuated by release of hormones due to sharp pain, increase blood pressure, elevated and heartbeat.
Fatigue, Tunnel Vision, and Anxiety
In case you did not know, these are also the symptoms of a migraine, and for someone getting a heart attack with no other telltale sign (as is likely in case of women), it’s very easy to confuse the two.
While genetics is one of the most common risk factors, looking out for lead indicators such as blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, stress and weight issues can predict most heart diseases. Also, for most women, the symptoms of heart attack will start manifesting in the milder form much before a major episode occurs, giving plenty of advance warning to mitigate, or even avoid altogether, the impact of an unfortunate eventuality.
If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, call us today on 0861-6680 100, 8008 104 199 or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to take action!