Detecting a Heart Attack in Women

There’s an old stereotype that only men suffer from heart attacks. Not only is this a false stereotype to believe, but it’s very harmful as well. Many women don’t understand that they’re at risk of a heart attack or they don’t know what the potential symptoms may be. Before a heart attack can be found or treated by a doctor, women need to know what signs could be a warning of a heart attack, so they’re able to seek treatment.

Knowing the Symptoms

Heart attack symptoms in men tend to be very obvious and undeniable. Severe chest pain, pain or tingling in the left arm, and sudden shortness of breath are the most common. On the other hand, heart attack symptoms in women tend to be very subtle and easily overlooked. Complaints of fatigue, nausea, back pain, jaw pain, or shortness of breath are the most common symptoms reported by women. Of course, all of those symptoms could easily be attributed to the flu or other less severe causes. Many women fear to reach out for help or believe that they don’t need to because their heart attack isn’t accompanied by chest pain. Attempting to treat the symptoms at home or waiting to see if they will pass on their own can lead to a much worse and potentially deadly situation

Knowledge is Power

The easiest way to treat a heart attack in a woman is early detection. By spreading the information of potential symptoms and warning signs with female patients, doctors are able to increase the likelihood of women knowing when to seek help. It’s important to discuss other risk factors including weight, age, and lifestyle choices as well. Women 10 years after menopause are the highest risk category to suffer from a heart attack, but younger women can suffer too. Certain risk factors can be lowered or controlled, but that isn’t possible if there isn’t a clear line of communication between patient and physician. By recognizing the signs of a potential heart attack sooner, women will be able to seek more effective treatment in a timely fashion.
Remember, if you feel like something is wrong and suspect it may be a heart attack, seek help right away. It’s better to call for help and learn that your symptoms are stemming from a less severe cause than to ignore them and suffer dire consequences.