People thought that heart diseases are more common in men but the fact is many women die each year from heart attack and other cardiac issues. The serious challenge facing the experts is that the symptoms of heart disease in men are largely different from the symptoms experienced by women. However, little awareness related to this disease can help women in understanding and reducing the risk of heart attack. Read on to learn about the symptoms of heart attack in women as well as how to reduce risks for heart attacks.
Heart Attack Symptoms in Women
There are several heart attack symptoms which may be reported in any woman. Some of these symptoms are silent (and that’s why are usually overlooked or missed)
1. Chest Discomfort or Pain
It is one of the common symptoms of heart attack among men and women, but some women experience this pain differently. Usually people experience chest pain at left side but some women experience this pain anywhere in chest with a feeling of fullness and compression. This pain is so uncomfortable and feels like vise has been tightened.
2. Jaw, Neck, Back or Arm Pain
It is one of the common symptoms that are more frequently reported in women as compared to men. Most women gets confused as they expect pain from heart attack to be felt in the chest or left arm and not in jaw, neck or back. This pain occurs suddenly and the intensity of pain increases gradually. This pain can also occur during sleep (which wakes you up). Urgently seek medical help and mention every symptom you are experiencing anywhere above the level of waist.
3. Stomach Pain
Sometimes women confuse the stomach pain related to heart attack with stomach ulcers, flu or heart burn. According to heart specialist stomach pain of a heart attack causes extreme abdominal pressure that a person may feel like an elephant is sitting on the stomach.
4. Breathlessness, Lightheadedness or Nausea
Sometimes a person may experience trouble in breathing for no particular reason and feels like she had run a marathon which in reality is not. This symptom may lead to heart attack accompanied with any other symptom.
Cold sweating is very common in woman who is having heart attack. It will give a feeling of stress and anxiety (and is different from the sweating that you experience after exercise). It is important to check out this sweating so that catastrophic sequelae can be prevented
Some women feels very tired while having heart attack and reports that they are unable to move (they are even unable to go to the bathroom). In most of the cases, patients complain tiredness in chest as well.
7. Sleep Disturbances
According to a research done at the Yale University, the apnea (the upper airway) is partially or completely blocked during sleep which interrupts the breathing process and reduces the quantity of pumped blood. This situation increases the chance of having heart attack. If it is difficult for you to breathe after waking up then chances are fair that you may be having a heart attack.
A speedy heartbeat and cold sweating can confuse a person with anxiety but this symptom can lead to heart attack.
Heart Attack Risk Factors in Women
Some factors which affect the heart of a person are high blood pressure; obesity and high cholesterol in both men and women but there are some other factors which play a sustainable role in the evolution of heart problems in women. Examples are:
- Smoking is the biggest factor which leads to cardiac issues in women
- Depression and mental stress affects the heart of women more as compared to men. Depression can kill a healthy life style therefore, consult to the doctor if you are having depression or other stress related issues and properly follow the advised treatment.
- Metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high blood sugar and fats around the abdomen can harm the women more as compared to men.
- Low estrogen level after menopause cause high risk of having cardiovascular diseases.
How to Reduce Heart Attack Risks in Women
By adopting different healthy lifestyles can reduce the heart attack risk
Try to do regular and moderate exercises during weekdays for about half an hour to hour. Exercise like brisk walking is beneficial. If it is difficult for you to do exercise in one session then you can split the physical activity in 3 to 4 sessions. It will also provide the same healthy benefits.
2. Keep a Healthy Weight
It is important to have a stable and healthy weight and having a normal BMI is beneficial. Person with a BMI of 25 or more are more prone to heart diseases.
3. Quit Smoking
Avoid smoking or try to quit this habit as smoking is injurious to health and it is a bigger factor which issue heart problems.
4. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Consume a diet which is low in cholesterol, salt and saturated fat. Try to eat a healthy diet and stick to it. Fried food is very demanding these days and looks attractive but they have zero healthy advantages.
5. Take Aspirin
American Heart Association encourages the women to become more aggressive in cutting the risks that may culminate in heart problems. Maintaining the intake of one aspirin daily can provide several benefits out of which one is the prevention of strokes and heart attacks. It also decreases the risk of other heart diseases. Do not start taking aspirin on your own to prevent heart disease. First discuss with the doctor about taking aspirin as he will guide you about its advantages, disadvantages, cautions and appropriate dosage.
6. Other Preventive Measures
- Try to take recommended medication of blood pressure, aspirin and blood thinners on time and with proper dosage.
- Manage the condition like diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure as they can lead to heart problems.
- Supplements like omega 3 fatty acids can benefit the women with heart problems