Heart Health: How are the symptoms of heart attack different in men and women?

Heart Health: How are the symptoms of heart attack different in men and women?

Sweating, nausea, dizziness and unusual fatigue may not seem like typical heart attack symptoms, but are common in women, and may occur more frequently while resting or sleeping, according to a study. Unlike men, chest pain, pressure, or discomfort are not always severe or even the most prominent symptom of a heart attack in women. That’s why women need to understand their unique characteristics as they work to reduce their risk of heart disease, Mayo Clinic researchers revealed.

These symptoms may occur

Symptoms of heart attack in women are different from those of men. When women experience heart attack symptoms, those signs are often misinterpreted. Women’s symptoms are often vague – shortness of breath, nausea.

“It’s important to first recognize the risk factors for developing heart disease and then work to curb the behaviors that can increase that risk,” said Chatura Aloor, M.D., a family medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato.

“Some factors play a more important role in the development of heart disease in women than traditional risks, such as high cholesterol, obesity and high blood pressure,” Alur said. Women should control risk factors such as diabetes, mental stress and depression, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle to help prevent heart disease. Certain conditions, including menopause, broken heart syndrome and pregnancy complications, can also increase a woman’s risk of heart disease.

Women don’t pay attention

Dr. Aloor said, “Women of all ages should take heart disease seriously. Many women downplay their symptoms and do not seek care until heart damage occurs and a trip to the ICU becomes necessary. We want women to understand the importance of listening to their bodies, understanding what feels normal to them, and seeking care before symptoms become severe.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the combination of birth control pills and smoking increases the risk of heart disease in young women by 20 percent. Women can have a heart attack without any prior symptoms. The AHA said about 64 percent of women who died suddenly from coronary heart disease had no prior symptoms. The risk also increases because women’s age and family history are often a factor. Overeating and living a sedentary lifestyle are also factors that lead to blockage of arteries over time.

The AHA recommends getting cholesterol checked at age 20 or earlier if there is a family history of heart disease. It is also important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.

Disclaimer: The suggestions in this article are for general information. Do not take these tips and information as advice from a doctor or medical professional. In case of symptoms of any disease, definitely consult a doctor.

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