Heart attacks are one of the main causes of early death in the modern world, and it’s likely that we know someone who has been affected by this horrible predicament.
There can be any number of things that cause a heart attack. It can be linked to a bad diet, a lack of exercise, or it can be almost entirely down to hereditary genetics.
All too often, this disease usually sneaks up on people, leaving them in a life-threatening situation without warning. However, just before the tragedy, our body sends us signals we simply shouldn’t ignore.
You will have known all this anyway, but one thing you might not have been aware of is that these symptoms can effect men and women differently, and manifest in different ways.
Here are 6 signs that every woman should be aware of, in order to give yourself the best possible chances of finding prompt medical help.
Remember – I am not a doctor, so this does not constitute medical advice. Each person is different, and it’s entirely possible that if you have these symptoms, it’s not usually anything to worry about.
However, these are some things that you should be aware of:
1. Pain in the back, neck, jaw & arms
These signs may be confusing, as a heart attack is associated primarily with pain in the chest or in the left arm, not in the neck or jaw. The pain can be progressive, nagging, acute, or sudden. It can even wake you up in the middle of the night. This is why you’d better consult a doctor as soon as you notice any unusual symptoms.
2. Sharp stomach pain
Some signals of an approaching heart attack can be confused with signs of poisoning, flu, or severe heartburn. This is because they all have abdominal pain as a symptom.
Sometimes women experience pressure in the abdominal region, which in their descriptions is compared to “an elephant sitting on the stomach.” It might not be the sign of a heart problem, but if your abdominal pain is this bad, you should see a doctor anyway to find out what is causing it.
3. Cold sweat episodes
Breakout of cold sweat are often associated with waking up in the middle of the night, perhaps from a nightmare. Often we get cold sweats when we have a cold or a fever. Usually, it passes – but there is a small chance that it could be something more sinister.
Cold sweat is another symptom that is more common among women. It may seem to be somehow connected with stress. However, if you haven’t had similar symptoms before, you’d better visit a specialist.
4. Shortness of breath & dizziness
Breathing issues for no apparent reason is one of the symptoms associated with heart attacks. However, it can often just be a sign that you are having an anxiety episode, or ‘panic attack’. These are episodes of anxiety that can often feel like something much more serious, but eventually pass.
However, if it is extreme, and doesn’t subside after a while, you should seek medical attention immediately. This is especially true if it is accompanied by one of the other symptoms on this list. Women who survived this said they felt like they had run a marathon, though they didn’t even move.
5. Increased fatigue
If even after a long rest you feel excessive fatigue and cannot perform simple actions (for example, going to the bathroom), this is an alarming signal and a reason to pay attention to the state of your cardiovascular system.
It is not necessarily the sign of anything life threatening, but it could be that your circulation isn’t currently working as well as it should be. You should go and see your doctor to find out why this is.
6. Pressure and pain in the chest
Here’s one that’s not gender-specific. Chest pain, discomfort, burning, a feeling of pressure in the chest — all of these symptoms manifest themselves regardless of your sex. However, some women experience pain in a wider area of the chest than men often do.
If the pain or pressure doesn’t disappear within a few minutes, you should call your doctor or 911 immediately.
Like we said at the start of the article, these symptoms are not necessarily the sign of heart issues, but they should always be checked out, especially if more than one of them happen at once. In such instances, be sure to seek advice from a qualified medical professional.
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