People often nurture a misconception that signs of heart problems are quite similar in men and women. Undoubtedly, there are some common signs of heart problems experienced both by men and women, still there are few distinguishing signs that are prevalent in women.
In fact, signs of heart problems in women are quite unpredictable than in men. The risk of heart diseases is higher in men, but it increases in women post menopause when the ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone hormones. Those suffering from hypertension and hypertensive heart diseases should not ignore any type of physical discomforts, which may be indications of a heart attack.
Top Unusual Signs Of Heart Problems In Women
There are some unique signs of heart problems that are mostly experienced by women than men.
1. Women May Not Experience Chest Pain
Acute pain in the left side of the chest followed by chest tightness is commonly observed in men and women during a heart attack. Chest pain of moderate intensity is also observed in case of an angina attack (a symptom of coronary artery disease). A study conducted by NIH (National Institute of Health) among 515 female heart attack patients reveals that 43% of them did not experience any chest pain or discomfort during the attack. They may have experienced other signs of heart attack excepting the chest pain. The study has also revealed that one third of them have experienced chest pain but of very less intensity.
2. Burning Sensation In The Chest
Although this symptom mainly indicates a digestive problem, it may be a sign of a heart attack as well. If you feel a burning sensation in the chest while carrying out your normal physical activities followed by other symptoms like shortness of breath, dizziness, weakness, nausea and other discomforts, immediately reach out for medical assistance. Many people think burning sensation in the chest is due to a digestive disorder and meet dreadful consequences at the end.
3. Shortness Of Breath
About 57.9% of female heart attack patients experience shortness of breath during a heart attack or angina attack. This is one of the commonly observed signs of heart problems in women. Men too experience this symptom. Shortness of breath is observed as the weakened heart muscles fail to supply the required oxygen and ultimately die out causing heart attack.
A general feeling of weakness due to unexplained reasons can be a warning sign of a serious heart problem like Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) or heart attack. This is experienced by about 54.8% females during a heart attack. There is a tendency to consider weakness as a sign of some other ailments other than heart attack.
Prolonged and unusual fatigue can be a sign of heart problem in women. This has been observed in 42.9% females experiencing heart attack. Poor oxygen supply due to the impaired heart muscles can cause unusual fatigue before a heart attack. Those suffering from hypertension or hypertensive heart diseases should pay special attention to this unusual symptom.
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Besides the above mentioned symptoms, women also experience nausea, vomiting, dizziness, discomfort in the upper abdomen similar to indigestion, stiffness and pain in the jaws and back pain during a heart attack or angina attack.
Vital Signs Of Heart Problems In Women Prior To Heart Attack
The same study conducted by NIH with 515 female heart attack patients clearly indicates that 95% of them experienced few unique and common signs of heart problems almost few months or a week before the attack. Some of these prodromal symptoms are:
Unusual fatigue (observed in 70% cases)
Sleep disturbances (observed in 48% cases)
Shortness of breath (observed in 42% cases)
Discomfort in the abdomen or indigestion (observed in 39% cases)
Anxiety and restlessness (observed in 39% cases)
Some women (of lesser percentage) experienced chest pain and back pain in the upper shoulder blades prior to heart attack.
Women with a high risk of heart attacks should seriously take into account any mild physical discomfort and follow up with the doctor immediately. Timely precautionary measures and medications can be live saving in many cases.