Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Women's Heart Attack Symptoms

 This is the last in my blog posts for Women's Heart Health.. I think, unless I think of something else anyway.  Today, I'm going to talk about symptoms in women.  Many women don't get the pain in left arm crushing chest can't breathe feeling.  So they brush off their symptoms, and they don't get medical help.  Another interesting fact, women are less likely to call 911 for themselves if in doubt, than for another person.  They are afraid of being embarrassed if it turns out to be a false alarm or something trivial.  I have friends that are doctors, I have friends that are EMTs.  Call them if you think you have a problem, they would rather come out on a genuine false alarm than have to transport someone to a doctor who pronounces them dead.  Women that do show up at the ER (and please don't drive yourself) often have a lot of preventable damage already done, because they waited too long.

One thing that I find very interesting, is that since women have smaller blood vessels it is often the smaller auxillary vessels that start to have symptoms first.  Either because they are being blocked and can't do their jobs or becuase the larger vessels are experiencing blockages and they start to get the additional blood flow they can't handle.  Here is a list of symptoms that many women experience up to one month before an actual heart attack:

  • 71% had unusual fatigue
  • 48% had sleep disturbances or changes
  • 42% had shortness of breath
  • 39% had indigestion
  • 36% had unexplained anxiety
  • 27% felt their heart racing
  • 25% felt their arms were weak or heavy

 During a heart attack many women do not feel the crushing chest pain or pressure.  they don't always get the sharp shooting pains in their left arm.  More common symptoms are neck, shoulder, upper back and abdominal discomfort. Here is a list of symptoms felt by women DURING a heart attack:

  • 58% had shortness of breath
  • 55% felt weakness
  • 43% felt unusual fatigue
  • 39% had a cold sweat
  • 39% felt dizziness
  • 36% felt nausea
  • 35% felt their arms were weak or heavy

 Please do not ignore these symptoms, especially if you have more than one of them!!

Here are some really helpful links with a lot more information than I was able to put in my last 3 posts.

Women's Heart Org summary sheet
Women's Health. Gov heart disease info page  
Mayo Clinic Women's Heart Disease 
American Heart Association Women's Heart Attack 
Harvard Med School's Publication

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Ria for all the research and time it took to publish these articles


I've gotten rid of the word verification for posting comments. To tell the truth, I have trouble reading the new stuff they are using. Feel free to disagree, but spammy or obnoxious comments will not go up.