What every woman should know about heart attacks
When it comes to heart disease, women and men are very different. Heart disease is the number one killer of women—a grave statistic that doctors’ say all ladies should keep top of mind. That’s because heart attack symptoms in women can be subtle and sometimes resemble something else.
Health experts say if you sense something may be wrong, it’s best to act fast. Taking quick action could save your life or the life of someone you love. Critical signs women should look for include:
Chest Pain, Pressure or Tightness
This is one of the most common symptoms of a heart attack in both women and men. But research shows that the description of pain can differ slightly in women. It’s often described as a dull or uncomfortable feeling, whereas men describe feeling heavy pressure like that of an “elephant sitting on their chests” or squeezing behind the breastbone or sternum.
According to the American Heart Association, women experiencing chest pain or discomfort are likely to take an aspirin but not call 911. They suggest if the pain is uncomfortable enough to take an aspirin, women should call for emergency help.
Women are more likely to produce symptoms of the flu, such as fatigue, nausea shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping and dizziness. This is not often a symptom men have.
Info you can take to Heart
There are some medical theories that suggest why heart attacks between the sexes are different. One suggests that it may be due to hormonal factors or to the size of the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle.
There is still much more research to be done to determine why men and women are different when it comes to heart attacks. For now, physicians and researchers continue to spread the word to as many women as possible that recognizing the heart attack signs and symptoms is something every woman needs to know.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.