Every 43 seconds, at least one person is likely to get a heart attack. While the symptoms of the condition are very obvious in men, it might not be the case in women. So, here's how to spot signs of a heart attack, ladies.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on September 26, 2019. It has since been updated.
There's so much that your body is capable of. It's even able to give you warning signs before something happens that could possibly threaten your health. Heart attacks are fatal and affect someone every 43 seconds, according to the American Heart Association.
One report also pointed out that the number threat that affects the health of women was cardiovascular disease. It's extremely important for women today, to be more conscious of the health of their heart because cardiovascular diseases also claim the lives of the same number of women who are affected by chronic lower respiratory disease, diabetes and all forms of cancer combined.
The main cause that could trigger a heart attack is the blockage of blood flow to your heart, according to Mayo Clinic. This block usually occurs when fat, cholesterol or other unhealthy substances form a plaque in your arteries. Such a buildup starts blocking the proper flow of blood to your heart. When this plaque starts disintegrating, it could give rise to a clot. Naturally, your heart muscle can experience undesirable damage when the blood flow is hampered this way.
Extreme, uncomfortable pressure on your chest can be a symptom that both men and women experience. It can feel like there's a ton of weight on your chest, you experience a feeling of squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest, which can stay for a few minutes before it disappears. It could recur again once it goes. But you can also experience heart attack without chest pains as well.
“Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure,” said Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health at NYU’s Langone Medical Center and an American Heart Association volunteer.
If your heart is experiencing a problem, it can trigger certain nerves in that area. But you are likely to experience pain in other parts of your body like your jaw, back, or arms, according to Cleveland Clinic. Watch out for pain in either of your arms, in your lower or upper back (which often begins in your chest and then moves to other parts, in your jaw (specifically the left, lower side of it). At times the pain might appear suddenly even without physical exertion and can disturb your sleep.
As everyone experiences the symptoms of a heart attack differently, some people might even find that shortness of breath might be the only symptom they experience, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). Sometimes they may experience shortness of breath before feeling the intense chest pain or simultaneously with the pain. Be cautious about it because it can occur both while resting or while you're active.
Certain issues with digestion could also signal a heart attack. If you experience issues like indigestion, vomiting or a feeling of nausea, it could be possible symptoms of a heart attack, as reported by the Office on Women's Health (OWH).
You might be a woman balancing work and family, and feeling tired might be something you commonly experience. But if you suddenly feel a new kind of fatigue or it's become more severe even though you haven't done anything different from your normal routine, then don't dismiss it for something normal. If everyday activities like buying groceries, walking from one room to another, or other routine activities make you unusually tired, be weary.
Feeling unusually light-headed or dizzy could also be a symptom of a heart attack. Some women have previously reported that it feels almost liked they stood up too fast. A heart attack might not make you unconscious immediately and may start out with feelings of dizziness.
One of the other common signs of a heart attack could be breaking into a cold sweat. Do not ignore, if you suddenly start sweating even without any exertion or you feel like you're sweating out of stress, feeling a cold and clammy sort of feeling even when there is no reason for you to feel worried in this manner.
When you notice these signs or a combination of them, make sure to call 911 right away and carefully listen to the instructions given by the operator. Until help arrives, stay as calm as possible and continue to take deep and slow breaths. Ensure that you don't drive yourself to the hospital unless there's no other way, according to Go Red for Women.