These 8 little-known symptoms that herald a heart attack in women

A heart attack is a life-threatening event caused by a disruption in blood flow to the heart. Knowing the female symptoms of a heart attack can help a person see a doctor sooner, which can save their life. Women are less likely to survive their first heart attack than men. This can be explained by the fact that the symptoms differ according to gender. Women are more likely to have a “silent” heart attack or have unusual symptoms. Additionally, female biology creates unique risk factors for heart attack since certain diseases that increase risk, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), are absent in male biology.

Symptoms of a heart attack in women

Chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack. Many people expect a sudden heart attack. However, research suggests that women experience symptoms several weeks before a heart attack. A study published in 2003 of 515 women who had a heart attack reported that 80% of the women had at least 1 symptom at least 4 weeks before their heart attack. Symptoms can be constant or come and go, and they can also interfere with sleep. It’s important that a woman experiencing any of these symptoms seek help immediately because heart attacks can be fatal regardless of whether the symptoms are mild or severe.

Here are eight of the symptoms of a possible heart attack:

1. Chest pain

The most common symptom of a heart attack, in both men and women, is chest pain or discomfort. It can be described as follows:

– oppression
– Print
– Pains
However, women can have a heart attack without experiencing chest discomfort.

About 29.7% of the women surveyed in the 2003 study experienced breast discomfort in the weeks leading up to the seizure. Also, 57% of them experienced chest pain during the heart attack.

2. Extreme or unusual tiredness

Unusual tiredness is often reported in the weeks leading up to a heart attack. Fatigue is also felt just before the event occurs. Even simple activities that don’t require much effort can lead to feelings of exhaustion.

3. Weakness

Feeling weak or shaky is a common acute symptom of a heart attack in women. This weakness or tremor may be accompanied by:

– Fear
– Dizziness
– fainted
– dizziness

4. Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath or difficult breathing without effort, especially when accompanied by fatigue or chest pain, can indicate heart problems. Some women feel short of breath when lying down, with the symptom lessening when they sit up straight.

5. Sweating

Excessive sweating without a normal cause is another common symptom of a heart attack in women. Cold and clammy feeling can also be an indicator of heart problems.

6. Upper body pain

Most of the time it is non-specific pain that cannot be assigned to a specific muscle or joint in the upper body. Areas that may be affected include:

the neck
the upper back or one of the arms

The pain may start in one area and gradually spread to others, or it may come on suddenly.

7. Sleep disorders

Difficulty falling asleep and waking up unusually can be problems before a heart attack. Almost half of the women in the 2003 study reported having trouble sleeping in the weeks leading up to their heart attack.

These disorders can include:

– Difficulty falling asleep
– unusual awakenings during the night
– Fatigue despite getting enough sleep

8. Stomach problems

Some women may experience pain or pressure in their stomach before a heart attack. Other digestive issues related to a possible heart attack may include:

– indigestion
– nausea
– vomiting

Postmenopausal myocardial infarction

The risk of heart attack increases due to the drop in estrogen levels after menopause. The symptoms of a postmenopausal heart attack are as follows

– Pain or discomfort in your arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach
– Fast or irregular heartbeat
– severe chest pain
– Sweating without activity

Risk factors for a heart attack in women

The risk factors for a heart attack in women are:

Age: People over the age of 55 have a higher risk of heart attack. This may be because pre-menopausal hormones provide some protection against heart disease.

Family History: Individuals whose male relative had a heart attack before the age of 55, or whose female relative had a heart attack before the age of 65 are considered families with a heart attack and are at increased risk.

Health status: Certain markers, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, increase the risk of heart attacks in both men and women.

Medical Conditions: People with certain medical conditions, including diabetes, obesity, and autoimmune disorders, are more likely to have a heart attack. Medical conditions such as endometriosis, PCOS, or a history of preeclampsia during pregnancy also increase the risk.

Lifestyle choices: Use of tobacco or stimulants such as cocaine or amphetamines, a sedentary lifestyle, or high levels of stress increase the risk of heart attack.

When to see a doctor

It is recommended for all women over the age of 40 to see their doctor regularly. This makes it possible to quickly identify risk factors in order to treat them. Early intervention reduces the risk of heart attack.

Anyone who notices the warning signs of a heart attack, such as the following, should see a doctor right away:

– unusual tiredness
– shortness of breath
– Upper body pain
Doctors will note symptoms, check blood pressure and heart rate, and may order blood tests or an electrocardiogram (ECG) to see the heart’s electrical activity.

Anyone who suspects symptoms of a heart attack should call emergency services immediately. According to a 2012 survey, only 65% ​​of women would call 911 if they suspected they were having a heart attack.

Emergency treatment can save lives. Anyone who notices the following symptoms should call an ambulance immediately, especially if the signs have lasted 5 minutes or more:

pain or discomfort in your chest
Upper body pain, especially in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or shoulder
difficulty breathing
extreme weakness
indigestion or heartburn
fast or irregular heartbeat
shortness of breath
inexplicable fear

Here are some tips for better heart health:

Have your doctor examine you regularly.

Take steps to manage other health issues, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

Quit smoking and avoid tobacco in all its forms. The risk of heart disease drops by 50% just 12 months after quitting smoking.

Do not use illegal drugs, especially stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines.

Losing weight if overweight.

Get at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity every day, such as B. Walk.

Eat a balanced diet and seek advice from a nutritionist if necessary.

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.

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