Heart attack most often occurs as a result of coronary artery disease. It is a serious life threatening emergency caused by a disruption in the blood flow to the heart muscle. In fact, heart failure is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Symptoms can vary from person to person – some people have mild pain while others have severe pain. Women tend to display different symptoms than men and have additional risk factors. Therefore, knowing the women’s specific symptoms could help a person seek medical attention sooner, which may save their life. Below is a graphical representation showing the eight common heart attack symptoms in women.
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Heart Attack Symptoms in Women
Learn about the 8 most common heart attack symptoms in women
1. Chest pain
The most common heart attack symptom in women involves the chest pain, either on the center or left side, that lasts for more than a few minutes. Sometimes, it goes away and comes back. The chest pain can feel like uncomfortable chest pressure, squeezing, fullness, or discomfort.
Feeling weak is a common symptom of a heart attack in women. The weakness or shaking may be accompanied by anxiety, emotional stress, dizziness, fainting, and feeling lightheaded.
Busting out in a cold sweat for no apparent reason could be a sign of a heart attack. If you experience sweating, along with any other symptoms, you need to call 911 for emergency medical care.
4. Sleep disturbances
Most women in the 2003 study reported issues with sleep disturbance in the weeks before they had the attack. These disturbances may involve difficulty getting to sleep, unusual waking throughout the night, and feeling tired despite getting enough sleep.
5. Extreme or Unusual Fatigue
Sudden extreme fatigue after doing a physical activity that you had no problem doing in the past, like walking, climbing the stairs, or carrying things, could be a symptom of a heart attack.
6. Shortness of Breath
Heavy breathing without exertion or shortness of breath, especially when accompanied by fatigue or chest pain, may result in heart problems. Other women may feel the shortness of breath when lying down, with the symptom easing when sitting upright. Shortness of breath often comes with chest discomfort, but the shortness of breath can also happen before chest discomfort.
7. Upper Body Pain
Upper body pain is usually non-specific and cannot be attributed to a particular muscle or joint in the upper body. Areas that can be affected include either the arm, neck, jaw or upper back. The body pain can start in one area and gradually spread to other parts.
8. Stomach Problems
Some women may feel pain or pressure in the stomach before a heart attack occurs. Other digestive problems associated with a possible heart attack include indigestion, nausea, vomiting.
Several medical conditions, health status, age, family history, and lifestyle choices can increase your risk for heart disease. About half of all women in the United States have at least one of the three risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking.
When to see a doctor?
Since age is one of the risks of cardiovascular disease, all women over age 40 must have regular checks with the doctor to treat certain medical problems related to blood sugar levels, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Early intervention reduces the chances of cardiac emergencies. Also, if you notice any of the symptoms above, you need to see a health care provider to get treatment and reduce the amount of damage to the heart muscle. Health care professionals can run tests to determine if a heart attack is happening and decide the best treatment.
Cardiac emergencies require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or an Automated External Defibrillator to restore the normal heart rhythm. In this case, it is essential if you are trained to do CPR based on the American Heart Association guidelines for Emergency Cardiovascular Care to help increase the victim’s chance of survival until the emergency medical services arrive.
Check out the online CPR training and certification course from CPR Select and learn skills to save the life of your loved ones during emergencies like a heart attack. The quick, easy, and affordable CPR certification program is designed by U.S. board certified licensed physicians who are trained by American Heart Association (AHA).