The symptoms of a heart attack in women are not necessarily the same as they are for men. In fact, they can be very different. One organization that has been at the forefront of heart health and heart attack awareness is Go Red for Women.
Go Red states, "It's not just a man's disease. 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke. But it can be prevented."
According to the National Heart Association,
"A heart attack occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This happens because coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood flow can slowly become narrow from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances that together are called plaque …. When a plaque in a heart artery breaks, a blood clot forms around the plaque. This blood clot can block the blood flow through the heart muscle. When the heart muscle is starved for oxygen and nutrients, it is called ischemia. When damage or death of part of the heart muscle occurs as a result of ischemia, it is called a heart attack or myocardial infarction (MI)."
: 4 Things You'll Feel Before a Heart Attack
Here are five symptoms of a potential heart attack that women should never ignore:
Pressure, a squeezing or fullness sensation, or pain in the center of the chest. These sensations my last for several minutes, subside and then return.
Shortness of breath that can occur with or without chest pressure. Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of The Heart and Vascular Institute at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, says women often struggle to breathe a few weeks before experiencing a heart attack. "If you are used to doing a certain amount of activity and then, all of a sudden, you can't get enough air, that is when I get concerned," reports Go Red for Women.
Pain in the jaw. Women may experience this heart attack symptom even when they are not having chest pains. Jaw pain may be accompanied by pain in the neck, shoulder, right arm or upper back, as well.
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Lightheadedness or feeling dizzy. Women often attribute this kind of symptom to fatigue, or perhaps a blood sugar issue but tend to ignore it as a symptom of a heart attack.
Nausea or flu-like symptoms can be a precursor to a heart attack. The Women's Heart Foundation states,
"About a third of women experience no chest pain at all when having a heart attack and 71 percent of women report flu-like symptoms for two weeks to a month prior to having more acute chest discomfort or severe shortness of breath."
This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.
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