Before you pass heart disease off as something only men need to worry about, consider this: heart disease kills more women than men each year, according to the Mayo Clinic. A woman’s body may show the symptoms of heart disease differently than a man’s. Get the scoop on the prevalent female symptoms of heart disease so you can get help right away.
Angina describes the pain or pressure often felt in the chest with heart disease. In women, a sharp burning pain in the chest and pain in other areas, such as the back, throat, jaw, neck and abdomen, may occur, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Women may notice an increase in angina pain during stressful times. Females also tend to notice angina more when at rest, unlike men who tend to experience greater pain during physical activity.
Arrhythmia means any irregular change in your heartbeat rhythm or rate. You may notice your heart rate increase or decrease. If the heartbeat becomes irregular, you’ll notice a fluttering sensation in your chest as if your heart is missing beats.
Shortness of Breath/Fatigue
Heart failure is a possible complication of heart disease that simply means your heart isn’t keeping up with your body’s needs. The result is a shortness of breath and fatigue, especially when you are doing something physical. You may also notice swelling, particularly in the lower part of your body in your legs, ankles and feet. Swelling can also occur in neck veins and the abdomen, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
Heart Attack Symptoms
Heart disease can lead to complications, such as heart attack. The symptoms of a heart attack in women so vary slightly over those of men. An uncomfortable sensation in the chest, such as pain or pressure, can occur in women during a heart attack, but not all women experience the pain, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Women have an increased risk of experiencing other symptoms. Woman may feel pain in the right arm, as well as pain or discomfort in the shoulders, neck, jaw, upper back and abdomen. Shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, sweating and a lightheaded feeling may occur. Women may feel nauseous or even vomit during a heart attack.
Knowing the early signs of a heart problem can save your life. If you notice any symptoms that could indicate a heart condition, seek medical attention right away. Because the symptoms in women aren’t always as obvious, many wait to seek medical care until damage to the heart has already occurred.