Statistics show that the majority of heart disease patients who die each year are women. The symptoms of heart disease in women are more subtle then in men and harder to pin point. Therefore, women need to be extra careful and pay attention to the following symptoms:
Pain in the chest
This is the most common symptom that women experience before a heart attack. According to Mayoclinic staff, “women tend to have blockages not only in their main arteries but also in the smaller arteries that supply blood to the heart – a condition called small vessel heart disease or microvascular disease.” The pain in the chest is a result of blocked arteries and is not always sharp, as it is in men. If you experience any kind of tightness in your chest see a doctor immediately.
Pain in the jaw, neck and shoulder
According to medics, this pain is similar to the one in the chest. Tightness, pressure, aching, burning and squeezing are a few of the characteristics of the pain associated with coronary disease in women.
Shortness of breath and extreme fatigue
Another heart disease symptom women should be aware of is the shortness of breath when walking or staying still. Usually, women who are overweight experience this symptom, but not always. At times, women may also feel dizzy or lightheaded.
Right arm pain
According to Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD the “Causes of arm pain range from mild annoyances to severe and potentially life-threatening occurrences, such as the pain from myocardial infarction and angina pectoris that may radiate (spread) to the arm area.” If your arm continues to bother you, without knowingly injuring it, it is best to follow up with your doctor to find out the cause of your pain.
If you experience any irregular heart beat or palpitations see a doctor as soon as possible. This is a symptom of a heart attack and you want to prevent it at all cost.
Many women experience cold sweats when they are on menopause, therefore they may not be thinking that cold sweats at night, can also be a symptom of heart disease. Daniel Lee Kulick, MD explains the cold sweats as a result of Endocarditis which is “an inflammation of the valves of the heart.” Bacteria forms a growth in the heart valves, blocking the regular blood circulation causing shortness of breath, fever and weakness.
According to doctors, some women may never experience any immediate symptoms, or that symptoms are so dull that women can’t tell that something is wrong. Be proactive and don’t allow a silent heart attack to surprise you. Maintaining a healthy weight along with regular exercising is the best thing you can do for a healthy heart.
If there is a history of heart disease in your family, your doctor may recommend that you take a daily aspirin to prevent a heart attack. Be aware of the above symptoms and go to the doctor right away if they occur. Do not hesitate, because although women are tough, they can’t beat a heart disease on their own.