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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.