Most individuals are unaware that signs of an impending heart attack vary between both men and women. Dr. Rohit Arora, a cardiologist currently practicing in Chicago, Illinois, explains the difference in symptoms and explores some commonly dismissed indications, especially in women.
Symptoms of a Heart Attack in Men
The symptoms more often seen in men are most frequently known as general symptoms of a heart attack. They can include:
- Pressure or pain in your chest
- Pain that radiates to your neck, jaw, arms and back
- Sweating and/or cold/clammy skin
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea (with or without vomiting)
- Numbness in your left arm
- Feeling lightheaded
Symptoms of a Heart Attack in Women
Although women suffering from a heart attack may experience similar issues as men, especially chest pain and tightness, Dr. Rohit Arora states that this is not always the case.
Symptoms women may experience include:
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Pressure or pain in the lower chest, upper abdomen, or upper back
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- Extreme fatigue
- Flu-like symptoms
- Sleep disturbances
- Brief loss of consciousness
Potential dangers associated with varying symptoms is that women tend to dismiss them as side effects of less threatening conditions including aging, the flu, or acid reflux. An individual with only minor discomfort due to shortness of breath and mild fatigue is less likely to assume the risk of a heart attack.
Dr. Rohit Arora claims that the most significant threat to a cardiac complication is denial. According to recent statistics, women are only half as likely as men to survive a heart attack. He states that no symptom should be overlooked, and individuals should consult a healthcare provider at the first sign of physical changes.
What to Do If You Have Symptoms of a Heart Attack
If you believe you may be having a heart attack, Dr. Rohit Arora urges you take your symptoms seriously. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, and potential complications can often be avoided by taking the appropriate actions, including:
- Calling 911 right away – not your doctor
- Preparing your medical history
- Lying down and taking Aspirin
- Ensuring you remain calm
How to Actively Reduce Risk of Undiagnosed Heart Disease
Because heart disease is difficult to diagnose in women, Dr. Rohit Arora encourages individuals to perform following to reduce the risk of heart disease while increasing life expectancy:
- Schedule regular appointments with your physician to evaluate your risk of heart disease
- Engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day
- Avoid smoking
- Follow a leaner diet for you and your family, filled with healthy fats and low in saturated and trans fats
Living a healthy lifestyle and getting frequent check-ups is a good habit to have for both men and women.