Heart attack in women vs men
We know what a heart attack is, but did you know that signs and symptoms have been shown to vary between the sexes? Research shows that similarities in signs and symptoms of-course exists in both sexes, however there are also a few associated signs and symptoms that are more commonly found in women than men.
So first let’s look at the like signs and symptoms of heart attack in both sexes. Remember, these may be present singularity or together with other symptoms:
- Pain or discomfort in the center of the chest
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of color and cold sweat
- Shortness of breath
- Pain or discomfort in or near the stomach, back, neck, jaw or arm
Research supports that though men can also experience similar signs and symptoms, women tend to have some that are less noticeable or obvious. The reason for this is unknown but according to a 2007 study, “Symptom Presentation of Women With Acute Coronary Syndromes — Myth vs. Reality,” researchers reviewed 35 years of research covering just under 70 studies ranging single to large trials, and discovered that:
- 30-37 % of women did not experience chest pain or discomfort during heart attack.
- 17-27% of men did not experience chest pain or discomfort during heart attack.
Though the majority of individuals did experience chest pain or discomfort, this review supports that women tend to have more subtle signs and symptoms over their male counterparts. Further supporting this fact, the American Heart Association shares that women sometimes “ chalk up the symptoms to less life-threatening conditions like acid reflux, the flu or normal aging.”.
It is clear that women (and men) should never take lightly any possible signs or symptoms of heart attack. Some of the signs that women may experience due to heart attack may also include:
- Pain or discomfort in upper abdomen, lower chest or upper back
- Extreme fatigue or lethargy
Keep in mind that these symptoms can happen as early as weeks, day or hours in advance of a heart attack. If any of the above symptoms become present, even if you are with friends or family, be sure to call 9-1-1. You should never try to drive yourself! Paramedics are trained to begin life saving strategies and treatment when necessary before arriving at the Emergency Room. These strategies and treatments can be a game changer to how you recover from your heart attack!
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– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC
Health Advisor | Email Casey