Heart attack symptoms are a terrifying experience. However, about two-thirds of victims do not have sudden heart pain and keel over with an attack. Instead, many have symptoms for weeks before actually having a heart attack.
Some choose to ignore the warning signs of a coming heart attack. They are fearful of what they will have to go through if they have a heart problem. It may seem easier to be in denial about a possible heart problem and think it will go away.
This thinking is self-defeating and unreasonable. Let’s consider this; it is easier and less painful to have your heart fixed before you have a heart attack than to ignore the signs and have a heart attack. The heart attack will be more terrifying than getting the problem fixed. Having a heart attack will probably cause damage to your heart, not to mention that a heart attack may end your life!
If you have warning symptoms of a heart attack, you should go to your primary health provider, who will do medical tests to see if you are at risk for a heart attack. Your medical provider will do an EKG test and take a blood sample to test for increased enzymes. If you are a candidate for a heart attack, he will refer you to a cardiologist or tell you to go directly to the hospital and meet the cardiologist there. He may tell you an explanation for your discomfort that is not heart-related, then you can stop the worrying and guessing.
Warning Signs of Heart Attack
- You may experience unnatural tiredness and the inability to do the things you usually do.
- You may have pain in your chest or upper body, such as jaw, neck, or left arm or shoulder, that goes away and comes back, especially if you are relaxed when the pain is felt.
- You may feel pressure or fullness in the chest area.
- You may have trouble swallowing or choking too often or have strange feelings in your neck like something is caught in your throat.
- You may experience heart palpitations or feelings of uneven heartbeat that are different from palpitations. For example, your heart may feel like something is pulling on it, and your heart is fighting to get away; the heart is not beating but is struggling.
- You may have an unexplainable feeling of doom. You may experience depression or have panic attacks.
- If you have a diagonal crease in your earlobes, this indicates heart disease that could result in a heart attack.
- If you have tightness and intense pain that goes across your upper back from shoulder to shoulder, across your shoulder blades, this could be a symptom.
- If you experience dizziness or faintness when you exercise, this is a signal that your heart may not be keeping up with the demand of exercising.
- You may break out in a cold sweat and feel nauseous
You may have bouts with the symptoms shown above for months or weeks before a heart attack occurs. A simple call to your healthcare provider could prevent a heart attack.
The heart attack symptoms may be acute or sudden, or both. In that case, you should call 911 or activate emergency rescue. Every second counts when you are experiencing a heart attack. The trained personnel in the emergency squad are equipped to start treatment immediately upon arrival, saving precious time.
What is heart failure?
Heart failure is a clinical syndrome caused by the structural and functional defects of the heart. The result is the impairment of ventricular filling or ejection of blood. Close to six million Americans have heart failure. Each year about 400,000 Americans develop heart failure and nearly 50% of patients die within five years of the onset of symptoms.
Heart Attack Symptoms differ by Gender
Women tend to have less recognizable or severe heart attack symptoms than men do. A woman may dismiss heart attack warnings as digestive problems or a pulled muscle. Women tend to feel ill, as with influenza, nausea and weakness, even fainting. They may feel the pain across their upper back instead of in the chest area. Many women do not feel like they are having a heart attack and will ignore the symptoms altogether.
There is Help and Hope for Heart Attack Patients
Modern science has come a long way in the treatment of heart attacks. Instead of open-heart surgery, you may have your heart fixed by coronary angioplasty, an interesting experience much better than open-heart surgery. In addition, there are cutting-edge medicines that can be used to aid recovery and maintain health after a heart attack. Also, your cardiologist may prescribe cardio rehab, a program where you will be instructed about your heart, exercise, nutrition, how to relax and more. Your exercise is monitored, so you are in a safe environment.
Understanding Heart Attack Symptoms in Women
Are heart attack symptoms in women different? People, in general, know the usual heart attack symptoms and are shocked to find out that in women, these can be very different. Understanding these differences could be a matter of life and death, so if you are female, you should pay attention. What do you think you know about heart attack and the early warning signs that could result in delayed treatment or worse.
Common Heart Attack Symptoms
A heart attack occurs when heart tissue dies due to a lack of blood flow. This happens when one of the coronary arteries that feed the heart becomes blocked. When the muscle begins to die, it causes chest pain and instability, which results in a heart that is not adequately pumping blood to the rest of the body. In this state, the heart muscle can manage nothing more than a quiver rather than the intense pumping action required to deliver oxygenated blood to your extremities. In addition, loss of blood flow to the brain can cause severe damage and even death if not addressed quickly.
Heart Attack Symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Radiating pain down the left arm
- Squeezing chest pains
Research shows that 90-95% of patients who receive medical care will survive a heart attack, which is why understanding the warning signs are so vital.
Women Heart Attack Symptoms
Chest pain is the hallmark symptom of a heart attack, but when it comes to female heart attack symptoms, you might be surprised to find that one study showed nearly 43% of those in the study who suffered a heart attack didn’t have any chest pain at all. These are significant findings, to say the least! Heart attack symptoms in women are more often than not atypical and can include:
- Shortness of breath
- Upper abdominal pain
- Unusual fatigue
- Lower chest pain
- Indigestion like symptoms
- Upper back pain
As you can see, none of these symptoms point definitively to a heart issue. In fact, there are dozens of less severe diagnoses that could be made with these signs. Consider the following:
Shortness of Breath – having trouble catching your breath is much more commonly associated with the lungs than the heart. Asthma, allergies, upper respiratory infection, or simply being out of shape are much more likely explanations.
Upper Abdominal Pain – Gas, Indigestion, constipation or tainted food could explain this type of pain. But, again, given the location, the heart is never considered the first option.
Weakness – being weak is such a vague symptom it is little wonder it is overlooked. Lack of sleep, stress, a particularly heavy menstrual cycle and being out of shape could explain Weakness.
Lower Chest Pain – women commonly suffer from gall bladder issues, which can cause pain in the lower chest just below the ribs. This symptom and potential diagnosis are also on par with Indigestion; gall bladder issues and acid reflux are very similar in nature.
Physicians look for indicators as well as symptoms before making a diagnosis. For example, a young woman in good physical shape with no family history of heart disease would be considered low risk for a heart attack. Unfortunately, heart attack symptoms can occur in women with this description, and doctors may dismiss the possibility without extensive testing due to risk factors.
Your health is nothing to play around with, and if you fit into the extreme atypical scenario, you may need to become extremely proactive in pursuing a diagnosis. Since early detection and treatment can mean the difference between life and death, do not rest without getting the answers you deserve. The longer a blockage goes untreated, the more damage your heart can suffer, leaving you at risk for complete heart failure.
If you believe you are exhibiting female heart attack symptoms, do not be afraid to say so. As soon as you arrive in the emergency room, firmly announce you believe you could be having a heart attack. You should immediately receive the following evaluations and treatments:
- Blood tests
- Aspirin Treatment
- Possible Cardio Catheterization
In some cases, you will have to present your case strongly to receive the appropriate evaluation. It is important that you not allow medical personnel to talk you out of what you believe. Hospitals and physicians who are not accustomed to dealing with atypical female heart attack symptoms will naturally be more resistant to listening. If all else fails and your arguments fall on deaf ears, request to be seen by a cardiologist.
Cholesterol and Heart Attack
Very few people are aware of the relationship between cholesterol and heart attack.
Blood Cholesterol Level
Cholesterol occurs in all foods of animal origin. The following factors control blood cholesterol levels:
- The amount absorbed from food.
- The rate of catabolism (destruction of food for energy production) and excretion in the bile.
- Intestinal absorption of bile acids
- Equilibrium between plasma and tissue.
Blood cholesterol numbers are the best indicators of cholesterol level.
Importance of Cholesterol
Blood cholesterol level has a lot to do with getting a heart attack. High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart attack. A risk factor is a condition that increases the chance of developing a disease. The higher the blood cholesterol level, the greater the risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack.
Heart attack is the number one killer of women and men in America. More than a million Americans have heart attacks each year. In addition, about a half-million people die from heart disease each year.
Cholesterol and Heart Attack
When there is too much cholesterol in the blood, it can build up in the walls of your arteries. The result is the hardening of the arteries. The arteries become narrowed, and blood flow to the heart is slowed or even blocked.
The blood carries oxygen to the heart. If not enough blood and oxygen reach your heart, a patient may suffer chest pain. If a blockage completely cuts off the blood supply to a section of the heart, the result is a heart attack.
High blood cholesterol level itself does not cause high cholesterol symptoms in the earlier stages, so many people are unaware that their cholesterol level is too high.
But in the late or chronic stages, high cholesterol symptoms are shown in many other organs.
It is critical to find out your cholesterol numbers because lowering cholesterol levels that are too high reduces the risk of developing heart disease and reduces the possibility of a heart attack or dying of heart disease, even if you already have symptoms.
Lowering the cholesterol level is critical for everyone younger, middle age, and older adults; women and men; and people with or without heart disease.
There are many cholesterol medicines available on the market. But before starting to take any cholesterol medicine, the causes of high cholesterol should be rectified.
This information is not meant to panic you about heart attack symptoms in women but merely to inform you so that you make the best medical decisions possible. It can be a little scary to think that something as innocuous as fatigue and Indigestion could be signs of a life-threatening condition. The only thing worse is having female heart attack symptoms and being unaware!
There is life after a heart attack, and lifestyle habits are changed for health. You may have had a sedentary lifestyle, and you will now find out the benefits of exercising. However, heart attack symptoms are the key to life when they are heeded, and help is obtained. Paying attention to heart attack symptoms and responding to them is a smart thing to do. It is smart for you and your loved ones!
Disclaimer: This Website is for information purposes only. You should consult your physician for correct diagnosis and treatment