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Common Symptoms of Heart Attack in Women


Heart attacks are often associated with chest discomfort, but did you know that women may experience different symptoms? Women need to recognize the signs of a heart attack as they can be subtler and easily overlooked. Heart disease affects over 60 million women (44%) in the United States, making it the leading cause of female mortality in the country. It can impact women of all ages and was responsible for approximately 310,661 female deaths in 2021 alone, accounting for about 1 in every 5 female deaths.

Read on to explore the common heart attack symptoms for women. By understanding these symptoms, women can take prompt action and seek medical attention when needed, potentially saving lives. Let’s look into the lesser-known signs that women should be aware of to prioritize their heart health and well-being.

Comparison of man vs women cardiac rhythm

There are no significant differences in the cardiac rhythm between men and women. Both men and women have the same basic cardiac rhythm governed by the heart’s electrical activity. However, some studies suggest that women may experience different symptoms or manifestations of certain cardiac rhythm disturbances, such as arrhythmias, compared to men.

Additionally, women may have unique risk factors for certain cardiac rhythm disorders, such as hormonal influences or differences in underlying heart disease overall. At the same time, there may be variations in how cardiac rhythm disturbances are present in men versus women, but the fundamental cardiac rhythm remains the same for both genders. Signs of heart attack in women also vary to that in men.

Female Heart Attack symptoms

Females are more prone to tolerating pain, and hence, most of the time, minor signs of cardiac arrest often go unnoticed. Some pre-heart attack symptoms in females feel like cardiac arrest itself, hence the sooner you identify them the better for your health. But some signs that you must look out for include:

  1. Chest discomfort or pain may feel like pressure or squeezing in the chest. Sometimes, fullness or pain in the center of the chest could also be signs.
  2. Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.
  3. Nausea, vomiting, indigestion, or abdominal pain.
  4. Pain or stiffness in the shoulders, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  5. Unusual fatigue, sudden extreme tiredness, weakness, or flu-like symptoms.
  6. Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting.
  7. Cold sweats, clammy skin, or sudden, unexplained sweating.
  8. Sleep disturbances, including difficulty sleeping or unexplained insomnia.
  9. Anxiety, nervousness, or a sense of impending doom.

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Lifestyle changes a woman should make to maintain a healthy heart

While the life of women is often very demanding, you must keep a check on your health with lifestyle changes. Women can make several lifestyle changes to maintain a healthy heart:

  1. Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet:
    • Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
    • Reduce saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars.
  2. Stay Physically Active:
  3. Maintain a Healthy Weight:
    • Work hard to maintain weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise.
  4. Manage Stress:
    • Practice meditation to reduce stress. You can also go for deep breathing exercises, yoga, or mindfulness.
    • Prioritize self-care even if you have a million tasks at hand. Ensure you Make time for activities you enjoy.
  5. Quit Smoking:
    • Avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.
    • Seek support and therapy to quit smoking if needed.
  6. Limit Alcohol Intake:
    • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. Limit intake to one drink per day for women. Watch your potassium intake as well.
  7. Get Regular Check-ups:
    • Have check-ups with your healthcare provider for blood pressure, cholesterol, and other heart health screenings.
    • Follow your doctor’s recommendations for preventive care and screenings.
  8. Manage Chronic Conditions:
    • Control conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol through medication, lifestyle changes, and regular monitoring.
    • Follow your healthcare provider’s treatment plan and attend regular follow-up appointments.
  9. Prioritize Sleep:
    • You should aim for 7-9 hours of sound sleep in pitch darkness each night.
    • Establish a hygienic and regular sleep schedule. It will help you in creating a relaxing bedtime routine.
  10. Stay Socially Connected:
    • Maintain supportive relationships with friends and family.
    • Stay socially active, and have a circle of people you can talk to and interact with. You must engage in activities that bring joy and fulfillment.

By incorporating small yet significant lifestyle changes into their daily routine, women can significantly reduce their risk of heart disease and maintain their health. It’s essential to learn CPR and AED usage to ensure you can help another person in need.

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In conclusion, chest pain is a common symptom of a heart attack in both men and women. Heart attack symptoms for women are often atypical symptoms. These may include shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, back or jaw pain, and unusual fatigue. Women must be aware of these signs and seek immediate medical attention if they occur. By promptly recognizing and responding to these symptoms, women can receive timely treatment and potentially prevent serious complications. Prioritizing heart health and knowing the signs of a heart attack are essential to maintaining overall well-being and longevity.