Signs, Symptoms and Risk Factor of Heart Attack in Women

Heart attacks are not always about chest pain. There are many more signs of heart attack which most people are unaware of. Also, more importantly, when compared to men, women face different symptoms of a serious heart condition.

Updated: August 17, 2020

Heart attacks are not always about chest pain.  There are many more signs of a heart attack which most people are unaware of. Also, more importantly, when compared to men, women face different symptoms of a serious heart condition. Women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw pain. A heart attack occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This happens because the arteries that supply the heart with blood can slowly narrow from a buildup of fat, cholesterol, and plaque.

Symptoms of heart attack that are common in women include:


Chest pain or discomfort:

Some women may experience chest pain differently than men. It may feel like a squeezing or fullness. The pain can be anywhere in the chest, not just on the left side. you may experience dis comfortably during a heart attack.


Pain in your arms, back, neck, or jaw:

This type of pain is more common in women than in men. The pain can be gradual or sudden and it may wake you up if you are asleep.


Stomach pain:

Sometimes people mistake stomach pain that signals a heart attack with heartburn, the flu, or a stomach ulcer.


Shortness of breath, nausea, or lightheadedness:

If you have any of these symptoms along with trouble breathing for no apparent reason, you might be having a heart attack.


Sweating:

Nervous breakdown or cold sweat is common among women who are having a heart attack. If you are sweating without doing exercise or exposure to heat or hot flashes, probably you have a heart attack.


Unusual fatigue:

If you feel extremely tired, even if you are sitting for a while or have not moved much, you might be having a heart attack.


Trouble sleeping:

If sleep disturbances is not related to any health issue, like stress or acid reflux, then you may have an issue in your heart. This is because if your heart has some issue, the levels of circulating oxygen in the body will be decreased leading to insomnia or unexplained awakenings in the night. Most of the above symptoms appear as routine and harmless. But if these symptoms persist for a long period of time, we need to take them seriously and ensure they are not signs of a heart attack to avoid any serious health complications.

Common Risk Factors Of A Heart Attack In Women:

The risk factors include:


Smoking:

Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to reduce the risk of a heart attack.


Obesity:

Obesity directly increases the risk of cardiac disease. When you lose extra fat, you reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, and blood vessels.


Diabetes:

Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose or blood sugar, that our bodies use for energy. High levels of blood sugar for a longer period of time can damage your heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.


Hypertension:

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys, which keeps you healthier longer.


Depression:

There is a strong link between depression and heart disease in women. Women are more likely to develop a heart attack or even die if they are depressed.


Menopause:

Women face an increased risk of heart disease post-menopause due to lower levels of estrogen.


High Stress:

When heart muscles fail due to a stressful situation, broken heart syndrome is developed. This is more common in menopausal women.


High Cholesterol:

High Cholesterol contributes to plaque, which can block arteries and lead to heart disease and stroke. When you control your cholesterol, you are keeping your arteries remain healthy and clear of blockages.


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