Heart attack being a life threatening event is caused by disturbance of the blood flow to the heart. Women are less likely to survive after their first heart attack than men. This is because there is difference in symptoms among both the sexes.
As we know heart is an important organ for the survival of ones life. Heart being made up of cardiac muscles which are supplied by arteries carrying oxygen rich blood . So that the heart can contract and push the blood to the rest of the body. Sometimes due to some reason there is no enough oxygen flow to the muscle and thus the heart begins to suffer. Hence sudden blockage of the blood flow to the heart muscle is known as Heart Attack.
Heart Attack: Causes and Warning Signs
Following factors are associated with high risk of a heart attack in women –
Women with diabetes are at greater risk of heart attack than men with diabetes
As there is fall of an important hormone , estrogen after menopause which is a risk factor for developing cardio vascular disease in smaller blood vessels.
Though many women are not chronic smokers like men but if they are then this factor also increases the chance of heart attack.
Lack of physical activity
One of the major risk factors as per the research conducted says women with inactivity are more prone to heart attack than men.
Mental stress and depression
Women undergo more stress and depression as compared to men which has a negative effect on heart.
Certain chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy for cancer
Chemotherapy used to treat breast cancer may increase risk of cardiovascular disease.
If a woman develops high blood pressure or diabetes during pregnancy , she attains long term risk of high pressure and diabetes which leads to heart disease in mothers.
Women with disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus may also have higher risk of heart disease.
Among all symptoms chest discomfort is the commonest symptom seen in both males as well as females. A blockage or Heart attack may be felt as pain , tightness , pressure or squeezing in the chest.
Pain differs from individual to individual as one may feel the pain like stumping of elephant over the chest while the other may have pinching or burning sensation. Such feeling last for long time even when the affect person is at rest.
But when it comes to women some may not develop chest pain during heart attack.
Nausea, Indigestion , Heart Burn or Stomach Ache
Such symptoms are also reported by the affected person. In general women often come up with vomiting during heart attack. Stomach ache can happen any way but one should be aware that it is a symptom observed during heart attack.
Pain spreading through Arm
People with heart disease often complain having pain over the chest and over the left side of the body. Many patient have been reported with pain in the chest along with pain in the left arm during heart attack but sometimes patient may only have pain in the left arm.
Extreme and unusual Fatigue
Unusual fatigue is reported in weeks leading to heart attack. Sudden fatigue or lethargy is observed before a heart attack. Even simple workout makes the person extremely exhausted. Tiredness is especially observed in women with heart attack.
While one snooze snoring is normal. But when snoring becomes unusually loud like gasping or choking it maybe sign of development of any heart disease.
Brain releases some chemicals which trigger the breathing process and these chemicals may fail in people who snore. Due to this oxygen levels drop dramatically causing release of life saving hormones like cortisone , adrenaline .
Such hormones contribute to hypertension condition and irregularities of the heart which could exacerbate heart failure , triggered heart attacks and even sudden death.
According to a new study at the University of Illinosis at Chicago When an individual perspire while feeling discomfort in the chest , arm , neck or jaw with little or no exertion and this could be onset to heart attack.
Due to clogged arteries pumping blood from heart requires effort so the body sweats more to keep the body temperature down during extra exertion.
Women having heart troubles often experience night sweats.They make mistake it as symptom for an effect of menopause. But they should rather consult doctor.
In most of the cases coughing is not a symptom of heart trouble. But if you are already having heart disease then you are at risk and special attention is required.
Long- lasting cough that produces white or pink mucus , it could be sign of heart failure. This is due to heart insufficiency to fulfil the body demand , causing blood to leak back into the lungs.
According to 2003 study more than half of the women reported sleep disturbance few weeks before they had heart attack.
Disturbances such as :
- Difficulty in getting sleep
- Unusual waking up in the night
- Feeling lethargic even after getting enough sleep
Poor sleep has also being linked to high blood pressure , atherosclerosis , heart failure , heart attack and obesity.
Upper Body Pain
Pain which is usually non-specific and cannot be attributed to a particular muscle or joint in upper body.
Affected area include –
- Upper back or either arm
The pain gradually spread to other region or may come on suddenly.
Shortness of breath
Feeling short of breath is like one is gasping for air and one of the common symptoms of heart attack .Shortness of breath or heavy breathing without exertion , especially when accompanied by fatigue or chest pain.
When one is nervous or excited it’s normal for heart to skip a heart beat or add on a beat once in while . But if it happens more than few seconds and often many times then consultancy of doctor is required.
During a heart attack , symptoms usually last for 30 minutes or longer and not relieved by rest or oral medication. Delaying should be prohibited. One should not delay and call for emergency help. Immediate treatment of heart attack is very important to reduce risk the amount of damage to the heart.