People typically associate heart attacks with older men, but women can suffer heart attacks as well. Although heart attacks among women are statistically less common than heart attacks among men, they are no less dangerous. Heart disease is the number one cause of death among both men and women in the United States, and is responsible for 1 in every 4 deaths. There are an estimated 735,000 heart attacks in America each year.
Heart attacks – or myocardial infarctions – occur when blood flow is blocked to the heart. This is typically caused by plaque buildup in the coronary arteries. Heart attacks can damage or destroy the heart muscle. Men are more likely to have a heart attack than women, however women who suffer heart attack are typically less healthy than their male counterparts.
Women’s heart attack symptoms
It’s important to remember that heart attack symptoms for women are different from heart attack symptoms that men experience. This is one of the things that makes heart attacks among women so dangerous.
When most people think of heart attack symptoms they think of an agonizing wrenching in the chest. Although this a common heart attack symptom for men, women are typically more likely to experience other symptoms. In addition to pain or tightness in the chest, women can experience other symptoms that aren’t immediately identifiable as a heart attack.
Here are the symptoms that often signal heart attacks among women:
- Pain or discomfort in the chest
- Pressure, tightness, or fullness in the center of the chest that lasts or goes away and returns
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweats, nausea, or lightheadedness
- A woman might experience a heart attack without any pain or tightness of the chest whatsoever. It’s possible to mistake the female symptoms of a heart attack as a flu, minor indigestion, or just getting older.
But heart attacks among women are no less serious just because the symptoms aren’t as dramatic as the typical male symptoms of a heart attack. Know the symptoms, and if you believe you are suffering a heart attack, seek immediate medical attention.