Heart attack symptoms in women can be the things we usually associate with such an illness in men. These would include chest pain, discomfort moving down the arm or back from the shoulder area, sweating, nausea or vomiting.
But in the case of women's heart health concerns, some unique heart attack symptoms in women would also include...
Shortness of breath
Anxiety or confusion
Pain in the jaw
I wrote a page about the effects of lack of sleep. The cardiovascular system was on that list. If you are a woman reading this page and have been experiencing periods of chronic sleep loss, please consider this possibility.
In a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, it was discovered that 70% of the female heart attack victims in this research project reported excessive fatigue prior to the cardiac event.
The same study indicated that over 50% of those who suffered heart attacks also experienced insomnia or some other form of sleep deprivation just days or weeks before their heart attack.
I realize that the usual approach is to "tough it out" because it "will probably go away." And in many cases it does go away. But far too often it goes away along with the life of the patient.
Another indicator could be skin tone. Many women experience a sort of dulling or graying of their complexion very shortly before a heart attack hits. Cold, clammy skin is another warning bell.
Unfortunately in the past it seems as though heart attack symptoms in women were missed in many cases. The signs listed above were often just attributed to anxiety in general or daily stress. So it often went untreated all together. There was a study reporting that 43% of women who had a heart attack never experienced chest pains.
Because so many times heart attack symptoms in women went unreported and thereby untreated, future generations missed a valuable tool in determining heart disease probabilities among females. That being family history.
Another extensive research endeavor showed that on average, women were 52% more likely to delay calling 911 during a cardiac event. Sadly, about 42% of women who suffer a heart attack die within one year. And there are over 400,000 women who actually report an event.
How many times are heart attack symptoms in women never reported? In past generations heart attacks were mostly considered a "man's problem." But the reality is that heart disease kills more American women each year than all cancer deaths combined!
One more note on that delay in calling 911. I gave you that 42% statistic for death among women in the first year following a heart attack. In men that percentage is only 24%. So we know that waiting is not the right move. Make the call right away.
Women generally don't present heart disease symptoms until around age 60. This is 10 years later than the average age for men. But with this advanced age, women are twice as likely to have a second heart attack within six years of the first one. They have a greater chance than men of dying from one of those heart attacks and often have a more difficult time with bypass operations.
Studies have shown that if a woman becomes inactive post menopause, their metabolism slows down. This can lead to weight gain most often in the thighs and abdomen. In the view of Dr. Chauncey Crandall, author of the new classic book, "Fix It", a waist circumference of over 35 inches is "considered an important factor for heart disease in women."
Dr. Crandall is an expert in the field of preventative medicine, in particular heart disease. I highly recommend "Fix It." This book will help you avoid or reverse nearly any cardiovascular system disease.
In men, blockages that lead to heart attacks usually occur in major arteries. In women however, blockages in very small vessels that carry blood in smaller arteries into the parts of the heart are more common. This is called micro-vascular disease. And it does get missed. Many times a woman will have had a heart attack and never even realize it.
As the workforce has evolved, more women are in similar work situations as men. And they have also picked up some of the habits that affect their heart health. Eating on the run at fast food establishments, working overtime, working from home and not sleeping enough. And still running a household.
But on the positive side, more women are now starting to report heart attack warning signs. And doctors are more aware of the potential dangers. Hypertension is being recognized more as is high blood pressure.
Reversing the effects of heart disease is nearly the same for men and women. Smoking has to end right now. They cannot provide any more evidence of how smoking hurts us than they already have done.
Change your diet habits. Follow the advice of Brian Tracy and avoid the three white poisons. These are white salt, white sugar and white flour. Please strongly consider the Mediterranean diet. I consider this the most healthy eating plan available anywhere. And the most versatile with a full slate of savory food choices.
Exercise. Just walking 60 minutes per day will do the trick. I know you hear 30 minutes all the time. But those first thirty just burn up stored energy. Be sure you are able, then work up to that 60 minutes straight. Take the dog along.
Remember that women present heart disease signs later than men. They often have a more advanced heart disease when it is discovered. Recognize the heart attack symptoms in women and how they vary from men.
If you feel any of them, get to a doctor and insist they do a complete check of your cardiovascular system.
Heart disease can be avoided. And it can be reversed. Gather the knowledge, avoid the white poisons and enjoy the walk every day. Your family and friends will give you "heart felt" thanks!