6 Signs of Heart Attack in Women
You've seen it on television or in the movies. A heart attack is written into the storyline and a favorite character grabs their chest or their left arm in agony and slumps into their seat in pain. This dramatization of a heart attack has become all too common as a way to convey immediately something is wrong. But in real life, a heart attack can often look (and especially feel) much different than what we see in dramas.
Men and Women present differently, while men usually more in line with the expected chest and left arm pain, they aren't precluded from alternative symptoms so should pay attention to this list as well. Women though, are a bit a-typical in how they present symptoms of a heart attack, many unbelieving they are even having one at all because it may not present the way they expect. Read below the six major symptoms of a heart attack, and remember if you or someone you are with are showing one or more of these signs, seek medical care immediately. Even if it turns out not to be a heart attack it's always good to have these items checked especially if they appear in groups.
Chest Pain, or Discomfort
Consistently ranked as the most common of heart attack symptoms, women can experience this differently. It may not feel like a sharp instant pain, but has been described as a squeezing or fullness. The pain as well could be anywhere in the chest, not just the left side.
Pain in the Arm or Arms, Back, Neck or Jaw
More common in women than in men, it may also confuse the person having a heart attack in that they are expecting pain to be focused in their chest. The onset of this pain can be gradual or sudden and it can come and go before it becomes even more intense. If you're asleep this pain can indeed bring you out of your sleep. And just as a piece of info, any un-typical or unexplained pain above your waist, whether it's associated with a heart attack or not should be reported to your health care provider.
Heartburn and Heart Attack, you'd be surprised how often one is mistaken for the other. Quite often stomach pains are associated with ulcers, the flu, something you ate but it can be a signal. As well this pain can range between severe abdominal pressures akin to a large mammal sitting on your stomach to lesser items like reflux. If you don't have a history of indigestion or can't relate this sudden pain to stomach flu it's a good idea to get this checked.
Shortness of Breath, Nausea, or Lightheadedness
A sudden onset of shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness that's not associated with heavy activity or unexplainable can be a sign of a heart attack. Lightheadedness can also feel like a disconnect from the events happening around you and can be gradual or sudden. If these symptoms are combined with any of the other heart attack symptoms please seek immediate medical help.
Breaking out in a sweat can be normal if you've just exercised, you're outside in the heat, nervous, having an anxiety attack or under stressful situations. But sweating without any cause can be a sign of a heart attack in women.
Some women who have had heart attacks report feeling extremely tired, even if they've been taking it easy for a while or haven't moved much. Patients often complain of a tiredness in their chests. They also report that they get winded and/or exhausted participating in simple activities that would be normal in their day to day, like walking to the kitchen or the restroom. Any abnormal fatigue should be reported to your health care provider.
Remember not everyone gets these symptoms. They can appear in different combinations and severity. If you have chest discomfort especially accompanied with any of these other listed symptoms call 911 or get to an emergency room.