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Heart Attack Signs in Women

Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.

Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest
Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach

Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somehow more likely than men to experience these common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

Even though heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, women often chalk up the symptoms to less life-threatening conditions like acid reflux, the flu or normal aging. Heart disease is the world’s biggest killers, accounting for a combined 15 million deaths in 2015. These diseases have remained the leading causes of death globally in the last 15 years.

Heart disease in Women

Angina in Women Can Be Different Than Men

Angina (chest pain)

Angina (chest pain) is a warning sign of heart disease, and recognizing it and getting treated early may prevent a heart attack. Fatty build-up in your coronary arteries, called plaque, prevents blood flow that’s needed to provide oxygen to your heart muscle.

Women more frequently develop heart disease within the very small arteries that branch out from the coronary arteries – microvascular disease (MVD) and occurs particularly in younger women.

Heart disease in men

On the other hand, Heart disease in men usually is due to blockages in their coronary arteries – obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD). Up to 50 percent of women with anginal symptoms who undergo cardiac catheterization don’t have the obstructive type of CAD.

You may have tightness, pressure or discomfort in your chest during physical activity or when stressed. But it goes away shortly after you stop the activity or get rid of the stress.

You may have tightness, pressure or discomfort in your chest during physical activity or when stressed
feeling out of breath, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or sharp chest pain

Angina symptoms in women can also include feeling out of breath, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or sharp chest pain.  Once the extra demand for blood and oxygen stops, so do the symptoms.



Women, in particular, can have pain in either arm — not just the left one like many men.

Women, in particular, can have pain in either arm – not just the left one like many men.

Women, in particular, can have pain in either arm — not just the left one like many men.
Pain in the lower or upper back often starts in the chest and spreads to these areas.

Pain in the lower or upper back often starts in the chest and spreads to these areas.

The pain is sometimes sudden, not due to physical exertion, and can wake you up at night.

The pain is sometimes sudden, not due to physical exertion, and can wake you up at night.
You may feel pain that is specific to the left, lower side of the jaw.

You may feel pain that is specific to the left, lower side of the jaw.



Three symptoms you should watch for, including information about how to tell if they are benign or cause for concern

1- Unusual fatigue

Like many women, you’re probably busy most of the time. You may take care of a family, run a household, work outside the home and care for aging parents. You are probably also tired a lot of the time. Most likely this is normal.

Unusual fatigue

But you should pay attention to fatigue if it is new or dramatic. Here’s what to watch out for:

  • You are suddenly exhausted after your typical exercise routine.
  • You aren’t exerting yourself, but have fatigue or a “heavy” chest.
  • Simple activity like making the bed, walking to the bathroom or shopping makes you excessively tired.
  • Although you feel exceptionally tired, you also experience sleep disturbance.
Unusual fatigue

2- Sweating and/or shortness of breath:

As women age, a lack of exercise and gradual weight gain cause issues like shortness of breath. Hot flashes are a common complaint for many women during menopause.

Sweating and/or shortness of breath

But these symptoms can signal a heart problem when they happen in certain situations:

  • Sudden sweating or shortness of breath without exertion
  • Breathlessness that continues to worsen over time after exertion
  • Shortness of breath that worsens when lying down and improves when propping up
  • “Stress” sweat (cold, clammy feeling) when there is no real cause for stress
  • Sweating or shortness of breath accompanied by other symptoms such as chest pain or fatigue
Sweating and/or shortness of breath

3- Neck, jaw, back pain:

As intricate as our body’s systems are, they are very adept at giving signals when there is something wrong. When there is a problem with the heart, it triggers nerves in that area, but you sometimes feel pain elsewhere.

Neck, jaw, back pain
Pain in the jaw, back or arms may signal a heart condition

Pain in the jaw, back or arms may signal a heart condition, especially if the origin is hard to pinpoint (for example there is no specific muscle or joint that aches). Also, if the discomfort begins or worsens when you are exerting yourself, and then stops when you quit exercising, you should get it checked out.



Emirates Cardiac Society

SHARING MATTERS OF HEART

SHARING MATTERS OF HEART




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Emirates Cardiac Society (ECS) is a non-profit organization comprising of cardiologists within the UAE that work under the umbrella of the Emirates Medical Association.


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