Invite Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Jerry Hickey, Ph.
According to research, women more frequently ignore the signs of a heart attack than men, especially younger women. Maybe they don’t recognize the symptoms. This could be that the symptoms in women can be different from the symptoms in men, so they won’t see the classic heart attack symptoms that you see in a TV show. They may even brush off heart attack symptoms out of a sense of embarrassment. There is evidence that women are concerned that they’re not truly having a heart attack and they hesitate to go to the emergency room. This can be really dangerous because the longer you wait during a heart attack, the more damage that can occur to the heart.†
The dangers of heart disease in women
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the number one killer in American women. Recent data shows that 25% of women who died in a given year died due to heart disease. Almost two-thirds of women who died suddenly of coronary heart disease never even reported their previous symptoms to their doctor.
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The problem is that when most of us think of heart attacks, we think of crushing, horrible, stabbing chest pain as the telltale symptom. But that’s not always what occurs in women and even in some men. The symptoms in a woman can be a lot less extreme or dramatic than what you see in men. Women might ignore the symptoms and may not recognize it as a true heart attack. For instance, there have been reports of women who had heart attacks but thought it was back pain or food poisoning.†
What heart attack symptoms should women be looking for?
I’m going to share some common heart attack symptoms in women. If you get them, you really should not be embarrassed to go to the emergency room. If you wait too long, it becomes really dangerous. If you’re at home and you have symptoms when you’re sitting on the couch, you need to call an ambulance.†
Obviously, everybody knows about chest pain. It could be pain, tightness, pressure or squeezing in the chest. It is really the most common symptom among both women and men. It’s not always a really sharp or stabbing pain, especially in women. They’re more likely to feel tightness or a buildup of pressure in the chest. The pain may also begin to go into your jaw, arm, shoulder, neck or back. Any kind of pain you get suddenly that’s above your waist, consider that it could be your heart. That’s an important clue.†
Another symptom that is common in women is nausea and vomiting. Women may think they have a virus or food poisoning. This is why many women often confuse heart attack symptoms with digestive issues. This is especially problematic when women experience pain lower in the chest.†
Sweating is also a good symptom to note. If the sweating comes on out of nowhere, it’s really important to make note that it could be the heart. Some people actually talk about a cold sweat. You may even faint or get dizzy. Another thing you may see if it’s a heart attack is sudden shortness of breath or a drop in stamina.†
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In this episode, Jerry Hickey, Ph. delves into the important discussion of heart attack symptoms in women. He explains how these symptoms can often differ from those in men and offers tips of what to look out for. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this episode, coming soon!†
- Statistics on heart disease in women
- How men and women experience pain differently
- What is the difference between heart-related sweating and hot flashes from menopause?
- Additional symptoms of heart attacks in women