Women Experience Heart Attacks Differently

Almost as many women die from heart disease as men. But, women are less likely to be aware of the problem as they experience heart troubles differently from men, and most people know the symptoms of heart problems for men. Today, we are taking a look at heart attack symptoms and how they differ between the sexes.

When you are not aware of the symptoms being connected to a cardiac event,” said Dr. Elsa-Grace Giardina, director of the Center for Women’s Health at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia Univ. Medical Center, “you don’t get to the emergency room in time, and there is more likely to be damage to the heart muscle. If you don’t get appropriate therapy immediately, then that muscle is forever scarred and more likely to have heart failure or arrhythmias or recurring events.”

Most of us think that chest pain is a good indicator of a heart problem. However, some people, especially women, either don’t feel chest pain or experience it differently. “We need to dig deeper into the symptom of chest pain for both men and women as it relates to heart attacks,” Dr. Leslie Cho says. “It is seldom as dramatic as you might think, and it can feel like pressure or heartburn that comes on over time.” You might not feel like clutching your chest like they do on TV!

Being usually tired can be a symptom of a heart attack. If you feel exhausted after doing something that you should be able to accomplish relatively easily, speak to your doctor. If you are getting sweaty very quickly, it might not be a hot flash — as many women mistake a heart attack as being. Another symptom can be being out of breath and having a harder time breathing while lying down. While men frequently suffer from pain in the left arm, women may experience back, neck and jaw pain as well as having either arm hurt. Nausea and vomiting can also be a sign of a heart attack in women that is more rarely seen in men. Because these symptoms are less well known, women can mistake a heart attack for the flu or acid reflux

Women wait, on average, 30 percent longer than men to go to a hospital than men after experiencing a heart attack. They are also 50 percent more likely to be misdiagnosed. Older women are especially at risk for not seeking treatment as it’s relatively recent that doctors have been learning just how prevalent heart disease is in women. There is still a common thought that heart disease only impacts men.

If you have these symptoms, don’t wait: go to the hospital immediately. Write a list of your symptoms while you’re experiencing them to make sure you don’t forget things once you’re feeling a little better. With an EKG or blood work, they should be able to figure out what’s going on inside your body.
February 24, 2020
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