The signs and symptoms of a heart attack may differ in women as that seen in men. Recent studies say that women experience a “silent” heart attack in most of the cases, which show unusual symptoms. This can make them less likely to survive the heart attack when compared to men. Besides, women are also prone to many other health complications too that can increase the risk of a heart attack. That is why it is very important to seek medical help at the nearest community healthcare center as soon as the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack are noticed. Below is a quick look at the common symptoms of a heart attack in women.
This is usually the initial symptom that a woman experiences in case of a heart attack. Sometimes, chest pain and discomfort can persist for several weeks before a heart attack. The signs related to chest pain in such a condition may be felt as pressure, tightness, squeezing, and continuous aching. Studies say that around 30% of women experience chest discomfort for a couple of weeks leading to a heart attack. Yet it is also seen that some women can have a heart attack even without experiencing any chest pain or discomfort.
Difficulty in Sleeping
Women can also experience difficulty in getting to sleep for weeks leading to a heart attack. In some cases, women also experience unusual waking up during nighttime or throughout the night. Some women also feel extremely tired in the morning in spite of getting enough sleep. Nevertheless, as such symptoms can also be associated with other health conditions, it is better to consult with a sleep expert to diagnose the root cause of the sleep issues.
An unusual fatigue and extreme tiredness is the next common symptom of heart problems in women. It can also be experienced for several weeks before a heart attack, where even simple day-to-day activities would lead to a feeling of exhaustion. Note that fatigue can also happen just before the attack, which is why it is recommended to consult with a physician at the nearest community healthcare center as soon as you feel any unusual fatigue or tiredness.
Pain in the Upper Body
Non-specific pain in the upper body can also indicate heart problems in women. Generally, the pain cannot be associated with a particular joint or muscle in the upper body. However, the usual regions where pain and aching can be felt include the neck, jaw, arms, and upper back. Sometimes, it starts paining in one area, which gradually moves to other parts of the upper body. In some cases, though, pain can come all of a sudden leading to a heart attack.
Feeling extremely weak is the common symptom of an acute heart attack in women. In most of the cases, the feeling of weakness and shaking may be coupled with fainting, dizziness, and lightheadedness. Sometimes, it can also be coupled with anxiety, uneasiness, and a feeling of distress.
Shortness of Breath
Heavy breathing without any physical exertion or feeling short of breath can also be the initial symptom of a heart attack. This is usually accompanied by chest pain or fatigue. In most cases, women experience shortness of breath even when lying down, but the condition eases as they sit upright.
Excessive sweating without doing any physical activity is another common symptom of heart problems in women. Sometimes, women can also feel cold while sweating heavily without a normal cause, while performing even the simple daily tasks at home can make them feel exhausted and tired out.
Most women experience pain or pressure in their stomach right before a heart attack. However, some women can also have persisting digestive issues for a couple of weeks leading to the attack. Usually, such problems include indigestion, acid reflux, nausea, and vomiting.
Factors That Can Increase the Risk of a Heart Attack in Women
Women can experience a heart attack after menopause because the level of estrogen in their body decreases after the age of 50 – 55. In such cases, the symptoms of the condition may include irregular or increased heartbeat, severe chest pain, heavy sweating without any physical activity, as well as excessive pain and aching in the back, neck, arms, shoulders, and jaw.
Certain health issues, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, can also increase the risk of a heart attack in women. Apart from that, those who have an underlying medical condition like diabetes, endometriosis, PCOS, or autoimmune disorders are also at a greater risk of heart attacks. Similarly, overweight women and those with a history of preeclampsia during their pregnancy are also more likely to have a heart attack.
Note that the lifestyle choices of a person play a great part in triggering serious health issues. For instance, using stimulant drugs like cocaine or amphetamines, smoking tobacco, and excessive consumption of alcohol can significantly increase the risk of a heart attack. Therefore, it is always recommended to lead a healthy lifestyle in order to lessen the risks of potential health complications.