Women and heart attack symptoms

Women do not experience the classic symptoms that we associate with heart attacks.

Women do not experience the classic symptoms that we associate with heart attacks.

by Joanne Henning Tedesco — 

Heart disease is the number-one killer of women, but most women do not know the symptoms, which are not the same for both sexes. Women do not experience the classic symptoms that we associate with heart attacks. If you or someone you know has one or more of the following symptoms, dial 9-1-1.

Shortness of breath — One study found that 42 percent of women having a heart attack had shortness of breath, which comes on suddenly for no reason and without exertion.

Cold sweats — Be wary if you suddenly break out in a cold sweat, especially if you are not going through menopause.

Upper body pain — Pain in the jaw, teeth, neck, back, arms (usually the left) and shoulder blades is a frequent symptom of heart attack in women.

Upset stomach, nausea and vomiting — Women are twice as likely as men to experience these symptoms while having a heart attack. Many women think it was something they ate.

Chest pain and pressure — Women may not experience the classic chest pain of a heart attack, but it can happen. Any acute chest pain or pressure, such as the classic feeling that you have a heavy weight on your chest, deserves prompt attention.

Fatigue and sleep problems — Many women experiencing a heart attack report fatigue that comes on suddenly with no cause. Any abrupt changes in sleep patterns could be a warning sign.

Dizziness or light-headedness — Women are more likely than men to feel dizzy and even to faint. This may be due to a blockage in one of the blood vessels leading to the heart.

Flu-like symptoms — Other vague but possible signs are flu-like symptoms that can include tiredness, which is one of women’s most common complaints. Do not ignore these symptoms.

 

Joanne Henning Tedesco is editor of AzNetNews.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 32, Number 2, April/May 2013.

 

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