Heart attacks represent the leading cause of death in the world, in fact, according to the World Health Organization more than 7 million people die annually due to this condition. A heart attack occurs when a blood clot blocks a coronary artery, preventing blood flow and the passage of oxygen to the heart, causing the cells of this muscle to die. The most common cause of heart attacks is the build-up of plaque in the arteries, a thick substance mostly made up of cholesterol.
Heart attacks do not distinguish between men and women, however, symptoms do differ according to sex. It is believed that every 90 seconds a woman suffers a heart attack in the United States and because women take longer to call for help or react to symptoms, when they arrive at the emergency room, women are generally in a more critical condition That men. Fortunately, 80% of these accidents are foreseeable and a good way to do it is by knowing their main manifestations. For this reason, in this FastlyHealarticle we inform you about the symptoms of a heart attack in women .
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What are the symptoms of a heart attack in women
The most common symptom of heart attacks is crushing chest pain, a discomfort that indicates something serious is about to happen. However, the symptoms of a heart attack in women can involve other types of signs that can be so useful to identify to know if the health of the heart is at risk. Let’s know what they are:
As we mentioned earlier, it is the most characteristic symptom that a heart attack is occurring. However, one must know how to identify this pain: it is an acute and oppressive discomfort , as if an elephant were standing on the thorax. It is a pain that you immediately know that you have not experienced before . It can be constant or ease for a few minutes and reappear. It is important to note that there is the possibility that the woman has a heart attack without presenting any type of chest pain.
Shortness of breath
Choking is also an important sign. It appears unexpectedly and gives the sensation that we cannot breathe deeply either while at rest or during an activity. Usually the person begins to strain to take in deep breaths to squid the discomfort. This occurs because as the heart is having an attack it cannot pump all the blood it receives, which accumulates in the lungs and affects breathing.
In women, a heart attack causes pain in the jaw, such as when the teeth are clenched, which can radiate to the neck, nape, shoulders and arms. The discomfort usually affects the left side of the body more and can also be felt in the pit of the stomach.
Nausea or vomiting
Due to this symptom, many women confuse a heart attack with a common stomach upset due to some food that made them feel bad, but this is not the case. In fact, it is the symptom that most differentiates heart attacks in men from heart attacks in women. Therefore, it is necessary to be alert if vomiting or nausea is accompanied by any other symptoms of heart attacks in women.
The person experiences at the moment the sensation of imminent death. He knows that something serious is happening to him.
These are the symptoms of heart attacks in women, however, before the attack develops there are another series of signs that can predict that a heart attack will occur:
- Extreme tiredness It is as if someone suddenly pressed a button and stole all the energy from the body, that is why we can speak of a very sudden , unjustified fatigue that causes muscle pain. This symptom can appear up to a month before having a heart attack and is experienced by most women who have had a heart attack.
- Changes in temperature There are women who experience a cold sweat before having a heart attack and who even buy the discomfort with the sensation of sweating that occurs during menopause. This can also change the pain of the skin and make it paler on the face while the lips appear purple.
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, arrhythmia, or changes in the rhythm of the heartbeat may also occur.
It is important to clarify that for a woman to suffer a heart attack it is not necessary for her to experience all the symptoms , even from two symptoms it is recommended to go to an emergency center. The most common is that the heart attack begins with fatigue the day before and an upset stomach hours before the attack. Although there is the possibility that it is a false alarm, a woman’s life can be saved if she goes to the doctor in time, remember: 80% of heart attacks are predictable.
When is it a false alarm?
In some cases, people have come to the emergency room believing they were having a heart attack and the truth is that it was another type of condition. This occurs because the symptoms of a heart attack in women can be confused with those of any other discomfort, which is why it is so important to act quickly. That is why we give you some keys to know if it can or can be a heart attack, in that case it will not be when:
- Chest pain is like a constant sting .
- If when touching the chest in the affected area the pain is even more pronounced . In these cases the pain may be due to a muscle contracture.
- The pain appears when you cough or breathe. In these cases the cause can also be muscular or pulmonary, such as a respiratory infection.
Can I save myself from a heart attack?
Totally yes . When the person experiences symptoms and goes immediately to the emergency room, it can prevent complete cell death of the heart and can even reduce damage to this muscle. There are women who have had heart attacks and their heart health has not been affected after the attack. But, to make it possible for everything to go smoothly, you should call 911 when you have more than 10 minutes experiencing more than two symptoms of a heart attack.
If you are sure that the discomfort you have is due to a heart attack and suddenly all the symptoms disappear, then immediately call your GP and explain how you were feeling until a few minutes ago, since he may know better identify what what the discomfort is due to and make a diagnosis over the phone. Heart attacks are often confused with an anxiety attack, a panic attack or angina pectoris, the latter as dangerous as a heart attack.
If it was a heart attack …
If the symptoms that the person was experiencing were due to a heart attack, this will be treated in emergencies where the main objective will be to uncover the coronary artery that interrupts blood circulation and the passage of oxygen to the heart, to achieve that the muscle is affected. less possible. This is done through an injection of a substance that will dissolve the clot. Medicines will also be given to treat symptoms and stabilize health.
If the person was slow to get to the emergency room or could not be treated in time, a catheterization may be necessary as the injection did not fully stabilize the arterial blockage. With catheterization it is also possible to stabilize the person. In more extreme cases, the artery must be properly dilated with a pressure balloon or stent . If this does not work, an attempt will be made to divert the blood flow through a bypass .
Which women are at higher risk of having a heart attack
A woman’s risk of having a heart attack increases with the arrival of menopause , however, there are other risk factors that will make a woman more prone than another to have a heart attack. Let’s know what they are:
- High blood cholesterol .
- Having diabetes
- Suffering from hypertension.
- Be a smoker .
- Being overweight.
- Lead a sedentary life without doing any kind of physical activity.
- Family history of heart attacks, is it that heart attacks are hereditary?
- Consumption in excess of alcoholic beverages.
Controlling all these risk factors and, if possible, minimizing them is extremely important to prevent a heart attack, especially if the woman is of mature age. Daily physical activity is essential for heart health and also helps improve other triggers such as being overweight, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to What are the symptoms of a heart attack in women , we recommend that you enter our category of Blood, heart and circulation .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.