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Heart Attack Symptoms: How They Differ in Men and Women

Heart Attack Symptoms


Heart attack is a severe life-threatening medical situation, and you could be the victim in the future. As per research, every 40 seconds, someone suffers from congestive heart failure in the US, which is alarming.

The timely diagnosis of a heart attack depends on how well you are aware of heart attack signs. And did you know these symptoms vary among women and men? Symptoms depend on different factors like heart disease, age, lifestyle, and of course, the gender of the patient is an essential factor.

Heart attack symptoms in women might confuse you with other conditions if you don’t correctly recognize the signs. Several less common symptoms may occur, which are specific for the women suffering a heart attack.

How Can You Recognize A Heart Attack? 

You might think of chest pain as the vital symptom of a heart attack, right? Well, this may not be true sometimes, as several symptoms of heart attack might not be so clear-cut. You should have secret knowledge about the prevalence of this condition to save yourself and your loved ones.

The more aware you are about heart attack symptoms, the chances for quick recovery will be higher. You should know about the pre heart attack symptoms in males and females separately; this helps avoid confusing the situation, especially women.

How early recognition of heart attack helps you? Well, if you can recognize the condition early, it should spare you from costly treatments later on and from other complications.

Symptoms of Heart Attack: Do They Differ in Men and Women?

You might be unaware of the fact that heart attack symptoms in women can actually differ from that of males. Male VS Female heart attack symptoms vary in few aspects, and their knowledge is vital for everyone. Studies show several symptoms common in both genders, but few signs are specifically more common in women only.

1- Symptoms In Both Men And Women

In the current diseased era, everyone should be aware of the common signs which predict a heart attack. Following are the few common heart attack signs affecting both men and women and are generally easy to recognize.

  • Chest tightness
  • Pressure over the chest and squeezing chest pain
  • Excessive sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Pain emerges and spreads to jaws, shoulders, arms, and neck.
  • Sudden dizziness might lead to unconsciousness.

2- Symptoms Specific for Women

Various less recognized symptoms are more likely to affect the women, which are as follows:

  • Fatigued and unexplained weakness
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Indigestion problems
  • Recurrent chest pain and discomfort.
  • Sense of impending doom

Some of the symptoms appearing in women are not even related to the heart. These include anxiety, stress, flu and acid reflux, etc.

Heart Attack in Women Over 50

Why are women after 50 more suspected of heart attacks? Different physiological changes affect women after 50, and most women go through menopause at this age. It lowers the level of estrogen hormone in the body, which generally protects heart health. 

Studies show that symptoms of heart conditions became more evident after menopause onset in women. Also, women experiencing a heart attack have fewer chances of survival than men, so it’s better to take precautionary measures. 

Women after 50 should visit the doctor regularly and check their health scores to get an idea about their heart performance. The average age of heart attack in women is about 70.3 years, but it may occur earlier and could be fatal.

Risk Factor of Heart Disease: 

You must be wondering about what causes the heart attack? Different risk factors are associated with a heart attack; some are common to both men and women, while few are specific for women only.

1- Common Risk Factors in both Men and Women

Following are the traditional risk factors affecting both men and women.

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Family history
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Raise levels of C reactive proteins
  • Metabolic syndrome: a condition in which diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity co-exist.

2- Risk Factors specific for Women

Studies analyze the following risk factors that directly affect the women and induce heart attack if not appropriately managed.

  • Stress and depression
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases which are more common in women
  • Menopause; which may induce hypertension, sometimes
  • High testosterone level before menopause
  • Less awareness towards the risk factors discussed above.

What To Do if Symptoms Appear? 

Never get panicked about heart attack symptoms; heart conditions are complicated yet treatable. But never ignore the signs and seek medical attention immediately. You can call 911 for emergency medical treatment, or you can ask your family or friend to take you to the nearest hospital.

A heart attack may worsen if you don’t know what to do in an emergency?  Take an aspirin and chew it well; it helps dissolve your blood clots and prevent artery blockages. 

FAQs: Heart Attack Symptoms

1- Do females have bigger hearts than males?

No, the size of the heart is typically smaller in females than males.

2- How can you avoid a heart attack?

Several lifestyle changes can help avoid heart attacks like quitting smoking,  more exercise,  low blood pressure, a healthy diet, etc.

3- Who has more heart attacks, male or female?

Male suffers more heart attacks than females. A study shows that males experience about 70-89% of sudden heart attacks.

4- Why is heart attack more common in males?

In males, heart size is larger than in females. When males are stressed, their heart arteries constrict, which raises blood pressure and induces a heart attack.

5- Who dies more from heart attacks?

Heart attacks are more prominent in males than females. But it proves more fatal to the women as compared to the men.

6- What percentage of first heart attacks are fatal?

It is estimated that about 12 % of people generally die from a first heart attack.

Bottom Line

Heart attacks are a common problem nowadays, and you must have basic knowledge about them. Early recognition of symptoms can save you from fatal consequences. You must know how to understand the heart attack symptoms, especially in women. Further, it’s recommended to get your genetic testing done for a better understanding of heart performance.

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