Heart Attacks in Women

What we need to know about Heart Attacks in Women

  1. Heart attacks are the number one killer of women (as well as men)
  2. Heart attack symptoms can be more subtle in women
  3. Women are not men, there are physical reasons such as pregnancy and menopause that account for some variable symptoms in women
  4. Heart attacks are often not promptly diagnosed/treated in women
  5. Women are more likely to experience “silent” heart attacks

Risks

  • Diabetes (more common in women than men)
  • Mental Stress and Depression
  • Smoking
  • Inactivity
  • Menopause (due to estrogen changes)
  • Some chemotherapy such as those used to treat breast cancer
  • Pregnancy complications

Symptoms – onset often at rest or during stress

  • Odd feeling in the chest or minor chest discomfort rather than severe pain
    • Often described as pressure or tightness
    • Palpitations
  • Neck, jaw, upper back or shoulder discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain or odd sensation in arm(s)
  • Abdominal pain, nausea and/or vomiting
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness
  • Extreme fatigue

Women should not ignore these symptoms and should work to reduce those risk factors in their control. 

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Sources: mayoclinic.com, prevention.com, womenshealth.gov, healthline.com

Graphic by Pixabay

2 Comments

  1. Thank you, again, for your always-helpful posts. Although there are many women who have had heart attacks (including in my own family), most people still believe it is a male malady. In reading over the symptoms list, I realize that I have experienced several of them on more than one occasion. Thankfully, due to a very thorough Primary Care Physician, tests have been done, referrals given to cardiologist etc, and some constant issues are currently being addressed. This might not prevent something worse from happening, but the odds are much better because of awareness from professionals and wise, medically- experienced people like you.

    Liked by 1 person

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