One might feel that all heart attacks come with chest pain or pain in your left arm. But over the years, studies have revealed that what films show you when it comes to a heart attack may not be true. Research has found that not only are these symptoms not standard for all patients, but women have different heart attack symptoms than men. And in many cases, signs can develop weeks before the actual cardiac event.
Unexplained Fatigue Weeks Before The Heart Attack
In 2003, the AHA surveyed more than 500 women who survived heart attacks, the results of which were printed in the journal Circulation. Among the 95 per cent of participants who said they saw something wasn’t right in a month before their heart attacks, the most prevalent was unexplained tiredness. According to the research, 71 percent of women described feeling tired for no valid reason in the weeks before their heart attack.
In a piece for the Cleveland Clinic, cardiologist Leslie Cho, says that if your fatigue is new or dramatic, you should weigh the likelihood of a heart attack. According to Cho, if you are fatigued after your regular workout, if you feel exhausted while resting, or if something as easy as making the bed dries you out, you should speak to your physician.
If you can’t sleep, that’s a cause for concern. According to the AHA survey, almost half, 48 percent of women who survived a heart attack said they felt sleep disruption up to a month before the event.
Chest Pain at The Onset of Heart Attack
The study also discovered that 31 percent of women experienced what’s deemed the tell-tale heart attack symptom: pain concentrated high in the chest. However, 43 percent said that there was no chest pain during their heart attacks at all.
“Lack of notable chest pain may be a significant reason why women have more unrecognized heart attacks than men or are wrongly diagnosed and released from emergency departments,” researcher Jean C. McSweeney, a teacher at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, stated. “Many clinicians still think chest pain is the main indication of a heart attack.”
Shortness of Breath
Women are more prone to describe feeling shortness of breath than any other symptom once their heart attack occurs.
That’s why the AHA states that if you’re feeling shortness of breath, with or without chest pain, you should go to a hospital.
Nieca Goldberg, medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU’s Langone Medical Center, explained to the AHA that women manage to consider their heart attack signs to less life-threatening situations like acid reflux or the flu. “There are still many women who are appalled that they could be experiencing a heart attack," Goldberg said.
Another typical symptom is finding yourself breaking out in a cold sweat. The reason for this symptom is that when you have closed arteries, your heart needs more energy to pump blood, and sweating keeps your body’s temperature low during this additional effort.
For women, this means night perspirations may not just be the outcome of menopause. They might also be a mark of heart problems.
If you have any of these symptoms, make sure to consult your physician. Don’t wait until it becomes critical.