We all tend to think that if we were to have a heart attack wed suffer excruciating pain, and wed sink slowly to the floor clutching at our chests and gasping for breath while our lips started to turn blue just like in the movies. Its the sort of stereotyped image we all have in our minds. But did you know that that isnt necessarily the case? Did you appreciate that the symptoms of heart attack in women women differ to those of men? No? Well, neither did I Perhaps its time for a rethink!
Your heart attack might not hurt!
According to this article on the USgovernmentinfo website 43% of women who experience a heart attack dont suffer any pain at all. Furthermore, less than 30% said they felt no pain or discomfort even before an actual heart attack set in! This is part of the information researchers gleaned from a research program that was carried out back in 2003 involving 515 women. The research report was entitled, Womens Early Warning Sign of IMA IMA being an abbreviation for Acute Myocardial Infarction posh words indeed heart attack you to and me.
Its wake-up time!
Apparently the symptoms that women present leading up to a heart attack are not as predictable as they are in our men-folk. Clinicians all tend to agree that given many womens ignorance about what the early warning symptoms of an impending heart attack might be, its way past time they were awakened to the fact. Some of the signs (which well talk about in a moment), can very easily be mistaken for something else, missing out on important opportunities to intervene before things go too far. In the end result theres one thing that men and women do share when it comes down to Acute Myocardial Infarction its the most common cause of death for both genders!
So just what are the typical symptoms most women exhibit that warn a heart attack could be on the way?
Extraordinary and unprecedented fatigue
According to the research, 70% of respondents said they suffered bouts of severe fatigue. Now were not just talking about feeling a little weary; this fatigue was far more than just feeling drained at the end of a working day. In these instances were talking about a feeling of sheer exhaustion; the type of physical tiredness that makes it difficult to even consider standing up.
Difficulty with sleeping
48% of the women who took part in the research reported that in the nights leading up to when their heart attacks actually took place, they found it difficult to drop off to sleep, and that when they did finally nod off, they experienced interrupted sleep patterns, waking up periodically.
Shortness of breath
42% of the women interviewed reported bouts of shortness of breath, for no apparent reason. There was no accompanying pain or pressure just unaccounted-for difficulty in breathing. Shortness of breath doesnt necessarily mean that you start grasping for breath. It can take several other manifestations, such as feeling that you continually need to take long, deep breaths, and perhaps have trouble in doing so. It can also mean the rhythm of your breathing speeding up, and taking rapid, short, sharp breaths.
One way or another, all of these manifestations are described as shortness of breath and could be an early warning sign of impending heart attack.
Indigestion is a heart attack symptom that is often ignored because its confused or misinterpreted as being a digestion problem. Many women are reticent to interrupt their routines of looking after the family, and are therefore content not to think of it as a heart attack warning. If however it is accompanied by any other symptoms such as shortness of breath or sweating, you need to face the possible truth. Better to forgo your wifely or motherly duties for a short period of time, and be with your loved ones for many more years to come, than to be snatched from them early because you ignored or were perhaps ignorant of what the symptom meant.
Bear in mind that 39% of women of the women who took part in the study were referring to, experienced indigestion as a sign of impending heart attack.
Feelings of anxiety experienced by 35% of subjects
35% of our women cited this symptom, but once again it is something than can be misconstrued as an everyday symptom of life, especially if you are under pressure or stress. But when were talking about anxiety as a sign of heart attack, it is an anxiety that is associated with a sense of impending doom. It may be associated with womens intuition, and in this case it is definitely a case of needing to follow that intuition.
Empowering yourself to save your own life
Any or all of these symptoms can begin present themselves one month or more before an actual heart attack takes place. So if recognized for what they really are, avoiding action can be taken that could save your life.
Speed is of the essence
When heart attacks happen, getting help quickly can make all of the difference as to your chances of survival. The fitter you are, and the healthier your heart, the better the chance you stand of surviving, but getting help in time, in terms of minutes, and even seconds, is significant.
Are you having a heart attack?
Mild heart attacks are often misconstrued as being something else; and again were back to those wifely/motherly tendencies again. When you are suffering an actual attack, all or many of the warning symptoms weve discussed may present themselves, plus some others too. These could include:
Suddenly starting to sweat for no apparent reason could be a warning sign that you are in the early stages of heart attack. The sweating is brought about by the bodys automatic nervous system. Its your bodys way of preparing for what is about to happen, and it goes into fight or flight mode.
Severe heart attack pain is impossible to ignore and pretty difficult to misconstrue. But as weve already said, 43% of women dont experience any pain, but some do not necessarily the excruciating pain that we see portrayed in the movies, but a more subtle, and perhaps misleading pain.
Many women describe a pain in the back, which they say is similar to a rope being tied around their chests, which is knotted at the back, and that is the being slowly being tightened.
39% of women reported that they felt dizzy during the early stages of heart attack. This can also include feeling lightheaded and nauseas. In another separate piece of research it was established that women are for more likely to feel dizzy than men are, and that if often results in feeling that they are going to faint. The cause of this sensation is probably down to the fact that there may be a blockage in one of the arteries leading to the heart.
Fore warned is fore armed
Heart attack is the number one cause of death in both women and men. Following a holistic health lifestyle will help to minimize the risk of heart disease, but there are no guarantees. Cardiovascular problems can be inherited; so learning these heart attack warning and symptoms, and being able to correctly identify them if they do materialize, is vital to any woman.