Men and women are both affected by heart ailments and although debatable, it can be especially damaging when it afflicts women. Why? Well, for one, they are the ones managing an entire household on their shoulders. At least in most cases. Heart disease is extremely serious and it reportedly kills one woman every minute and a half across the world. But did you know that there were certain heart attack symptoms in women that are difficult to catch? Something as small as the flu may end up causing you serious damage if left untreated.
However, while the stats may seem alarming, most of the heart diseases are actually preventable. How do you ask? It’s pretty simple actually. All you need to do is make certain changes in your lifestyle and reduce the risk of being hit by a life-threatening heart attack. So, ready to know about these heart attack symptoms in women? We’ll go one step further and tell you about heart attack prevention in women as well!
So, What is a Heart Attack?
Before knowing about the symptoms and prevention of heart attack in women, let’s first take a quick recap of what a heart attack actually is. A heart attack happens when the flow of blood that carries oxygen to our extremely important heart muscle is either completely cut off or harshly reduced. Why does this happen? Well, this mainly happens because there is a buildup of plaque, fat, cholesterol, and other similar substances.
Symptoms of Heart Attack Women Should Identify
Imagine walking across the floor to grab a bottle of water and suddenly in the next instant, you’re lying on the ground and flapping like a fish. Well, if you got this version of a heart attack from a movie, we don’t blame you. Yes, a heart attack is painful, no doubt, but it isn’t this drastic. Sometimes, people who have a heart attack don’t even know that they are having it! Unbelievable, isn’t it? But yes, certain heart attack symptoms in women (and men, sometimes) can be too subtle to catch. To make things a bit easier for you, we’ve listed a list of some symptoms below that will tell you instantly if you’re having a heart attack.
10 Heart Attack Symptoms In Women
1. For no apparent reason, you suddenly get short of breath. If you’re into hardcore gymming or other high-intensity workouts, you’ll be used to this kind of thing. Dealing with shortness of breath will be natural for you. But if you feel out of breath, like you need to really drag in air just for a single breath, this could be a sign that you’re having a heart attack. DO NOT IGNORE IT!
2. You feel like someone places a ton of weight smack in the middle of your chest. Uncomfortable? Yes. Painful? Extremely? The pressure on your chest will be immense and you won’t know where it came from. It may last for a couple of minutes. Sometimes, it will leave and come back again. So, if you experience this kind of incredible squeezing on your chest, an inexplicable fullness, then you definitely need to get to the emergency room ASAP.
3. If you suddenly experience nausea or break out in a sweat for no apparent reason, you are most probably having a heart attack. Under normal circumstances, eating something that just suits the palate might lead to nausea. But unexplained nausea is a sign that your body could be in serious trouble. Some people also experience lightheadedness along with unpleasant nausea. So, before you know about heart attack prevention for women, know that this is a symptom you must not ignore.
4. Unimaginable discomfort or pain in one (usually the left) or both the arms is a symptom. You may have simply returned from a walk. Maybe you went for a shower. But you did not fall or dash into anything on the way. So, where is this pain coming from? It’s one of those heart attack symptoms in women you should know to identify immediately. And that’s not all. The pain will inflict not just your arms. It may very well strike your neck, back, tummy, or jaw as well.
5. When you’re hit by unforeseen heartburn or some serious stomach pain, it could be one of the most serious heart attack symptoms in women. Certain types of food can cause this kind of discomfort. But if you experience them out of the blue, it could well mean something serious. So, if you’re plagued by this or know someone else who is, do not delay in getting to the doctor.
6. If you snore too loud, this could be a heart attack symptom. Yes, snoring is normal. But unusually loud snoring could be one of those underlying symptoms that could tell you there’s some issue with your heart. This is especially true if your snores are accompanied by gasps and sudden chokes that cannot be explained. It means that you’re suffering from a serious illness called Sleep Apnea which puts tremendous pressure on the heart. So, if this is happening to you, it’s time to call for an appointment with your cardiologist.
7. Suffering from a persistent cough is also among the top heart attack symptoms in women that can be easily missed. Coughing is normal in most cases. But when it doesn’t seem to stop, you should get it checked out. It may indicate an underlying heart condition that you’re unaware of. Also, the case could be more serious if you’re suddenly coughing out whitish or pinkish-colored mucus. This indicates heart failure.
8. When you suffer from an unusual swelling in your feet, ankles, or legs in general, it could be one of the most important signs of an impending heart attack. What this indicates is that your heart is unable to effectively supply blood through your body and that you need to get it checked out immediately. You could prevent a heart attack with timely intervention.
9. Irregular heartbeat could also be among the most common heart attack symptoms in women that many of us miss. While it is normal for our hearts to skip a beat – say, when racing, skipping, jogging, or doing other such exciting stuff – once in a while, if it happens too often, then you need to get it looked at. It could signal that you are probably suffering from Atrial Fibrillation which is a serious condition that needs immediate attention.
10. Flu-like symptoms can sometimes turn out to be one of the most significant heart attack symptoms in women. We often put down tiredness, nausea, acid reflux, and other flu-like symptoms to regular aging or downright hectic lives. However, in some cases, these can be indicators of a heart ailment you know nothing about. Thereby, if such symptoms persist over time, make a trip to see your doctor immediately.
What to Know About Heart Attack Prevention for Women
Now that you know about the heart attack symptoms in women, how do we deal with them? Well, when you have any of these symptoms, you go to the doctor. It’s as simple as that. Take no risk and make your way to the hospital immediately. But a heart attack can be prevented as well by making a few changes in our lifestyle. Here are some of the top things you can do that will help you ward off an impending heart attack:
1. Be in a good place mentally
One of the most common misconceptions is that you need not take care of your mental health. If you’re not in a good mental conditional, it can badly affect your body. Depression is a grave disease that can kill you silently without anyone even knowing that you’re suffering from it. So, cut down completely on anything (and anyone!) that causes you any kind of mental stress.
2. Keep active
An important step when it comes to heart attack prevention in women is to make sure you get plenty of physical activity. We don’t necessarily mean you have to run marathons every week – unless you want to, of course. But making sure you’re active enough to keep the good hormones flowing through your body should be enough. Might we suggest jogging, salsa, walking, or even swimming?
3. Cut down on the alcohol
Yes, most women can handle as much alcohol as men. That doesn’t mean you have to. There is no point to prove. However, if you really love the stuff, then you may have a problem because studies have shown that too much booze can harm your body. So, if you’re partner takes two glasses a day, limit yourself to one. Sucks, we know. But you’ll get used to it.
4. Don’t skip your Gynic-appointment
What’s your gynecologist has to do with heart attack prevention for women? Well, as it turns out, quite a bit actually. When you visit your gynecologist, ensure to get your blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI, and blood sugar tested as well. These will tell you where your heart stands and if it needs a bit of work done on it.
5. Quit smoking
There are no two ways to say this – smoking is bad for your health. Period. Some of the most serious heart attack symptoms in women are caused because of this notorious habit. So, if you love lighting up a smoke, try to at least cut down a bit until you can eventually stop doing it entirely. However, keep in mind that going cold turkey is never advisable especially if you’re a heavy smoker. So, seek professional help to kick the habit.
6. Get enough sleep
Agreed, most of us are leading hectic lives that do not let us sleep enough. However, if you are unable to get seven to eight hours of shuteye every night, it’s high time you hit the bed as early as possible. While lack of sleep may make men and women both irritable, the consequences will be far more damaging in women. It can lead to depression which, as discussed above, one of the most serious heart attack symptoms in women.
7. Take extra care during pregnancy
An important step when it comes to heart attack prevention for women is to carefully keep track of your health when you’re pregnant. Some women develop diabetes or high blood pressure during their gestation period. These need to be monitored with a hawk eye. Sometimes, these won’t simply go away after the delivery. In such cases, it is best to seek early treatment and prevent the risk of developing serious heart disease.
8. Eat right and watch your weight
This is among the most important things to do when it comes to heart attack prevention in women. Your diet must contain all the necessary nutrients, calcium, vitamins, and other important things that your body needs. Cut back as much as possible on binging fatty-cum-oily snacks. These will increase your cholesterol levels and the chances of suffering from a heart attack with an increase that much more.
Finally, Why Women Need to Know About Heart Attack and its Prevention
Women are known to neglect their health by invariably putting the needs of their loved ones first. They will ensure everyone is well taken care of even before looking at their own needs. When this happens, there is a tremendous amount of stress on the heart. This can very well lead to a heart attack. Many times, most of us aren’t even aware of the heart attack symptoms in women. So, how can we then tackle heart attack prevention for women when we do not even know its symptoms? Thereby, it is utterly essential that women be aware of the risk their hearts are in when living a fast-paced lifestyle. Know your limits and respect the boundaries that your body has set. Never push yourself too much so that it becomes impossible to return from the breaking point. Your family is doubtless important. But so are you. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of them.