Never Ignore These Early Symptoms of Heart Attack That Occur Only in Women

A heart attack is caused when the blood flow towards the heart is blocked. You must know the symptoms of a heart attack. So that you could help a person sooner.

Women are weaker than men when it comes to heart attacks. This is due to the symptoms differ between males and females. When compared to men, Women are more likely to have a silent heart attack.

Early Symptoms of Heart Attack in Women

The most common symptom of a heart attack is chest pain. Research suggests that women start showing up symptoms of a heart attack several weeks before having a heart attack.

A research study published in 2003 of 500+ women who had experienced a heart attack, reports nearly 80 percent of women had at least 1 symptom at least 4 weeks before their heart attack.

Symptoms may be constant or occur occasionally. Women will not be able to sleep too. If such symptoms occur, it is vital for women to seek help immediately.

Early Symptoms of Heart Attack in Women

There are around eight symptoms that can possibly cause heart attack are:

1. Chest Pain

The most common symptom of heart attack in both males and females is chest pain or discomfort. It may be characterized by:

  • tightness
  • pressure
  • squeezing
  • aching

However, women can experience a heart attack without having any chest discomfort. In a survey conducted in 2003, 29.7% of women experienced a heart attack without any symptoms. Around 57% had chest pain during a heart attack.

2. Extreme or Unusual Fatigue

Unusual tiredness is often observed weeks before reported in the weeks leading up to a heart attack. Fatigue is also experienced just before the heart attack occurs. Even simple activities that that is not much tough to do can lead to tiredness.

3. Weakness

Feeling weak is a common symptom of a heart attack in a female. This weakness or shaking may be accompanied by:

  • anxiety
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • feeling lightheaded

4. Shortness of Breath

When women experience fatigue or acute chest pain, it is accompanied by shortness of breath or heavy breath. This might be one of the symptoms of a heart attack. Some people may feel short of breath when lying down, with the symptom easing when they are sitting upright.

5. Sweating

Sweat can be a dangerous symptom for heart attack. Excessive sweating without a normal cause is a common heart attack symptom in women. Experiencing cold and clammy can also be an indicator of heart problems.

6. Upper Body Pain

This is usually non-specific and cannot be attributed to a particular muscle or joint in the upper body. Areas that can be affected include:

  • neck
  • jaw
  • upper back or either arm

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

7. Sleep Disturbances

Difficulty getting to sleep and unusual waking may be issued before a heart attack.

These disturbances may involve:

  • difficulty getting to sleep
  • unusual waking throughout the night
  • feeling tired despite getting enough sleep

8. Stomach Problems

Before a heart attack, some women may feel pain or pressure in the stomach. Many other digestive issues can occur before a heart attack as follows:

  • indigestion
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Post-Menopause Heart Attack

After menopause, the risk of heart attack increases due to falling estrogen levels. Post-menopause heart attack symptoms include:

  • pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • severe chest pain
  • sweating without activity

Risk Factors for Women

Risk factors for a heart attack in women include:

  • Age: Those aged 55 years or older are at greater risk of heart attack. This may be because, before menopause, hormones provide some protection.
  • Family history: Those with a male relative who had a heart attack by the age of 55 years old, or a female relative who has had one by 65 years of age, are considered to have a family history of heart attack and are at increased risk.
  • Health status: High blood pressure and high cholesterol, increases the risk of heart attack in both males and females.
  • Medical conditions: Diabetes, obesity, etc., are some of the conditions that provoke a heart attack. Diseases such as endometriosis, PCOS, or a history of preeclampsia during pregnancy also increase risk.
  • Lifestyle choices: Consuming too much tobacco or stimulant drugs, for example, cocaine or amphetamines, a sedentary lifestyle, or high levels of stress will all increase the risk of heart attack.

About the author

Tracy Silberman

Tracy Silberman specializes in women’s health and infertility issues. She edits AskMyHealth’s pregnancy and parenting articles. She’s dedicated to helping patients understand how to better manage their disease states not only with medication but also by incorporating better nutrition into their lifestyle. She has presented at local, national, and international healthcare conferences. she joined AskMyHealth in 2016 and previously worked in editorial for the women’s health app. In her free time, She enjoys time in Napa Valley with her family.

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