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Sings of Heart Attack

10 Early Warning Signs of Heart Attack in Women

Heart attacks, which were formerly believed to mostly afflict men, are becoming more widely acknowledged as a serious health issue for women. On the other hand, women’s heart attack symptoms are often more subtle and can be overlooked, which can cause a delay in identification and treatment. We explore the 10 early warning signs of a heart attack in women in detail in this thorough guide, clarifying their subtle appearance and the vital need for prompt detection and intervention. 

The World Heart Federation reports that 60% of adult deaths in India are caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which include cardiovascular(heart) diseases (CVDs). Roughly 27% of NCD-related deaths are linked to CVDs, which also significantly affect the female population. 

It’s becoming clear that women may experience heart attack symptoms differently than men as medical knowledge advances. A global concern for women’s heart health is the earlier onset of heart disease compared to men. Studies suggest this might be the case in India as well, with a higher case fatality rate for CVDs in women.

This guide aims to provide an in-depth analysis of these heart attack symptoms in women, elucidating their significance and complexity. We enable women to take charge of their cardiovascular health by identifying early warning indicators.

Chest Pain:

Women may feel pressure, tightness, discomfort, or other symptoms in their chest during a heart attack. Women commonly report these sensations as burning or fullness, as opposed to men who typically describe them as an excruciating, crushing agony associated with heart attacks. It’s critical to take seriously any strange chest sensations, regardless of how minor or sporadic they may appear. As chest pain during a heart attack might fluctuate, it’s important to be aware of any strange sensations in the chest.

Nausea

In women, nausea or a terrible feeling in the stomach might coincide with a heart attack. Occasionally happening in isolation from other symptoms, this symptom is frequently confused with gastrointestinal problems like food poisoning or indigestion. But it’s crucial to understand that nausea may indicate a cardiac issue, particularly if it coexists with other symptoms like shortness of breath or tightness in the chest. Women who experience inexplicable nausea should consult a doctor right away to rule out a possible cardiac condition, especially if the nausea worsens or lingers.

Palpitations

A fast, erratic, or fluttering heartbeat is what is meant by palpitations. Women who are having a heart attack may have palpitations due to irregular cardiac rhythms. Stress, anxiety, or coffee use are some examples of factors that might aggravate these symptoms and cause more pain and suffering. Palpitations throughout a cardiac episode should not be disregarded since they may point to a heart disease that needs to be evaluated and treated by a doctor.

Panic Attack

Panic attack symptoms can resemble those of a heart attack, such as sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, or a feeling of impending doom. Women who are having panic attacks may misdiagnose their symptoms as stress or anxiety and postpone getting the help they need. Distinguishing between a panic attack and a heart attack is critical because timely intervention is necessary to address a cardiac issue. To rule out a possible heart condition, any unexplained or severe symptom should be brought to medical treatment right away.

Breathlessness

In women, breathing difficulties or shortness of breath might come on suddenly or gradually. The ailment could make it difficult to carry out daily tasks. It might even take place when you’re at rest. Chest pain, exhaustion, or lightheadedness may accompany this symptom during a heart attack. Women who experience persistent or inexplicable breathlessness should consult a physician to identify the underlying reason, as it may indicate a cardiac condition that needs immediate attention.

Jaw or Back Pain

During a heart attack, women may feel pain in the jaw, neck, back, or shoulders. In contrast to the severe chest pain commonly linked to heart attacks in males, these unusual symptoms are mistakenly linked to other conditions. But it’s crucial to understand that jaw or back discomfort, particularly when accompanied by other symptoms, might be an early sign of heart disease. Any inexplicable or chronic pain should be evaluated medically to rule out any possible heart problems.

Cold Sweats

For women, a sudden, clammy onset of cold sweats unrelated to physical activity or hot conditions may indicate a heart attack. These chills could be the only symptom or they could appear in conjunction with other symptoms, suggesting a possible heart problem that has to be checked out. During a heart attack, nausea, shortness of breath, or chest pain may coexist with cold sweats. Women who experience prolonged or inexplicable cold sweats should consult a doctor so that the underlying reason can be identified and the proper medication can be administered. 

Sleep Disturbance

Symptoms of sleep disturbances include trouble falling asleep, frequent nighttime awakenings, or a feeling of lack of sleep, even with enough sleep, which may be a precursor to heart problems in women. It is crucial to take immediate action to treat sleep problems because poor sleep quality has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease. To enhance their general heart health, women who have recurrent sleep disruptions should consult a doctor for evaluation.

Anxiety

In women, feelings of anxiety or a sense of impending disaster can occasionally occur before or after a heart attack. Although anxiety is a normal emotional reaction to stress or fear, unexplained or persistent anxiety should be further evaluated by a healthcare professional, especially if other symptoms like shortness of breath or chest discomfort accompany it. It’s critical to distinguish between anxiousness and signs of a heart attack since treating a heart-related issue requires immediate medical attention.

Swollen Feet

Heart failure, a condition in which the heart cannot pump blood effectively, can be indicated by swelling in the feet, ankles, or legs. Women suffering from unexplained or chronic swelling should consult a doctor to rule out underlying heart problems. Timely intervention is essential for controlling heart failure and improving outcomes. It’s possible for lower extremity swelling to be accompanied by additional symptoms like exhaustion, breathing difficulties, or soreness in the chest. Women who have persistent or inexplicable swelling should see a doctor to find out what’s causing it.

To sum up, increasing knowledge of the early warning signs of a heart attack is critical to ensuring that it is recognized and treated as soon as possible, particularly in women who may exhibit unusual symptoms. Women can take proactive steps to protect their heart health and lower their risk of heart disease by arming themselves with knowledge about these subtle symptoms and realizing the value of prompt medical attention.

Moreover, encouraging women’s heart health requires highlighting the importance of lifestyle changes and preventative actions. Through the adoption of heart-healthy practices such as consistent exercise, a well-balanced diet, stress reduction strategies, and abstaining from tobacco use, women can notably lower their risk of cardiovascular disease and enhance their overall welfare.

To put it simply, putting heart health first is essential to overall well-being. Women can take charge of their heart health journey by actively listening to their bodies, being alert for any unexpected symptoms, and getting medical assistance as soon as necessary.

 

References:

https://world-heart-federation.org/resource/cardiovascular-diseases-in-india/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27142605/