What are the symptoms of heart attack in women

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As pointed out by the World Health Organization (WHO) [1] , heart disease and one of its most serious manifestations, myocardial infarction, generally called heart attack, are the leading cause of death in the world. Although this type of cardiovascular accident is usually associated with men, in reality it can be suffered by both men and women. In both cases, recognizing the symptoms in order to act quickly is essential for one's life.

What are the symptoms of heart attack in women

One factor that not everyone knows is that, according to each sex, the symptoms may not be the same and, in the case of women, they are more difficult to identify. Do you want to know what are the symptoms of heart attack in women? In this article we detail them so that you can be aware of their appearance. Symptoms of a heart attack in women.

A heart attack occurs as a result of a blockage or narrowing of the coronary arteries, which means that not enough oxygen reaches the myocardium and the heart does not have the energy it needs to keep beating. The most common symptom, which warns that this situation is being triggered, is the sensation of pain or tightness in the chest. In men, this sharp pain in the chest area is usually a clear alarm signal, but it is a pain that does not always appear in the case of heart attack in women.

According to experts from the American Mayo Clinic [2], some women who have suffered a heart attack describe as their main symptom, rather than intense chest pain, a feeling of oppression that can disappear after a few minutes. In addition, females are more likely to experience symptoms unrelated to chest pain. In this sense, among the possible symptoms of heart attack in women, some should be included that, in principle, would not be related to coronary disease, such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting accompanied by a painful sensation in the abdomen.
  • Discomfort in the neck, jaws and shoulders.
  • Pain or tingling in one or both arms.
  • Alterations in breathing, such as the feeling of shortness of breath.
  • Vertigo, dizziness, fatigue and extreme tiredness.
  • Abnormal sweating (cold sweat).
  • Stomach upset such as indigestion or strong heartburn and reflux.

What is a silent heart attack

It should be noted that in most cases, the symptoms of a heart attack can be easily recognized, especially in men. However, it is true that cardiovascular accidents are sometimes practically asymptomatic or present a series of minor ailments that can be confused with other pathologies. This is what is known as a silent heart attack, because it can go unnoticed by the sufferer and can even be difficult for specialists to diagnose.

An episode of nausea and vomiting could be related to gastrointestinal problems, pain in the neck and shoulder area could be a muscle contraction or a momentary feeling of suffocation could be attributed to a stress situation but, although it is not tried to be alarmists, we must also take into account that they could be symptoms of a silent heart attack, coronary accidents with a special incidence in women.

There have been cases of attacks that go completely unnoticed and are detected a posteriori, in diagnostic tests or medical check-ups related to other pathologies. They are clear cases of silent heart attacks. Risk factors for a heart attack in women

Eating a balanced diet and following healthy lifestyle habits that include some exercise and exclude harmful habits such as smoking is the best way to prevent and avoid heart disease. Obesity, hypertension or high levels of cholesterol in the blood are risk factors for a cardiovascular accident that affect both men and women, but, in addition, there are specific risk factors for a heart attack that especially affect women, some of those pointed out by experts are: Menopause: once a woman's fertile period is over, in which estrogen plays a protective role in her cardiovascular health, estrogen production decreases, increasing the risk of heart attack, especially if menopause is associated with others

Factors for a heart attack in women

Eating a balanced diet and following healthy lifestyle habits that include some exercise and exclude harmful habits such as smoking is the best way to prevent and avoid heart disease. Obesity, hypertension or high levels of cholesterol in the blood are risk factors for a cardiovascular accident that affect both men and women, but, in addition, there are specific risk factors for a heart attack that especially affect women, some of those pointed out by experts are:

  • Menopause: once a woman's fertile period is over, in which estrogen plays a protective role in her cardiovascular health, estrogen production decreases, increasing the risk of heart attack, especially if menopause is associated with other factors such as weight gain or high blood pressure.
  • Diabetes: It is estimated that women with diabetes may have a higher risk of heart attack than men with diabetes. In addition, in her case, diabetes may affect the perception of painful symptoms, so women with this disease could be at increased risk of a silent heart attack.
  • Emotional stress: prolonged stress, in general, can become a trigger for a heart attack in men and women, but the latter are more likely to experience emotional stress and illnesses such as depression, two risk factors that must also be considered. consider.
  • Complications in pregnancy: high blood pressure or seasonal diabetes during pregnancy can affect a woman's cardiovascular health.

If you want to know more about these symptoms, we recommend the articles on How to exercise in menopause and How stress affects the heart.

  • Factors such as weight gain or high blood pressure.
  • Diabetes: It is estimated that women with diabetes may have a higher risk of heart attack than men with diabetes. In addition, in her case, diabetes may affect the perception of painful symptoms, so women with this disease could be at increased risk of a silent heart attack.
  • Emotional stress: prolonged stress, in general, can become a trigger for a heart attack in men and women, but the latter are more likely to experience emotional stress and illnesses such as depression, two risk factors that must also be considered. consider.
  • Complications in pregnancy: high blood pressure or seasonal diabetes during pregnancy can affect a woman's cardiovascular health.

What to do if you have symptoms of a heart attack

A heart attack is always a medical emergency. In the event of obvious symptoms, such as severe pain in the chest or arms, a feeling of shortness of breathdizziness, or even loss of consciousness, immediate help must be sought by calling the emergency services. As doctors from the Spanish Heart Foundation [3] point out, in a heart attack, acting quickly is vital, and determining whether or not you have suffered a heart attack through an electrocardiogram is essential to start the ideal treatment that saves life. life or prevent further cardiovascular complications.

In the same way, even if the symptoms are not so clear, for example sudden and excessive sweatingunexplained pain in the neck and upper back or apparent indigestion, it is also necessary to go to the hospital as soon as possible to rule out the possibility of be suffering from a silent heart attack or with symptoms that are difficult to define.

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