Heart Attack in Women: Symptoms & Treatments

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How to Treat Heart Attack in Women

Heart attacks are a serious threat to many people with a history of some cardiovascular disease. It is a health crisis surfacing as a result of a disruption or blockage of blood from the heart. Heart attacks are life-threatening conditions whoever experiences them must receive treatment and medical attention as soon asap. The chances of surviving a heart attack without medical help are close to zero, depending on the severity of the attack. It is usually best to look out for the symptoms of heart attack as quickly as possible.

Both sexes experience heart attacks, just like many other diseases of shared organs, but there are some marked differences in the nature of heart attacks. For instance, there are different forms of symptoms between men and women. Women are affected by what some doctors call “unusual” symptoms of a heart attack. Statistics also show that men are more likely to survive the first incident of heart attack than women. There are a couple of factors leading to the increased chances of suffering more damage from a heart attack among women; this may also be a result of the biological setup of the female`s body.

8 Symptoms of Heart Attack in Women

Among the many symptoms of heart attacks, the most common of them is chest pain. Humans don’t just experience a heart attack without prior signs or symptoms. Women may feel the symptoms a couple of weeks before the heart attack. There are many reports attesting to the fact that about 80% of women who suffered heart attacks reported having a symptom or more at least four weeks before the condition. The safest approach to heart attacks is early detection of its symptoms. Below are some symptoms of a heart attack in women.


AnovulationWhen one experiences the stress and tension which may build up to a heart attack, there is a weakness that weighs down most of the patient’s body. Women often feel shaky and feeble for some days, with light-headedness, feeling dizzy, anxiety or even fainting. You should seek medical help if you experience these signs.

Chest Pain

Like we have established, chest pain is the most commonly known symptom of a heart attack. Whether female or male, we have several cases of heart attacks preceded by repeated incidents of chest pain. This symptom may just feel like a discomfort in your chest, followed by swelling, tightness, squeezing or aches. Such pains can be sharp or mild and stretched. Note, however,  there have been some cases of women having a heart attack without any chest pain prior to the attack. You are advised to consult your doctor if you experience an unusual or recurrent discomfort in your chest.

Upper Body Pain

Not only your chest, but the upper part of your body is directly linked to the condition of your heart. Heart attack patients also feel pains around the joints and muscles of the upper part of their bodies. This pain usually affects the arms, neck, upper back, and jaw. Such pains may be temporary and mobile, so you may feel them for a few hours or days in the arms before moving to the chest or back.

Stomach Problems

Some stomach conditions may arise just before a heart attack strikes. Check for uncomfortable pressure or pain in the stomach for days, as this is a symptom that appears in many women just before a heart attack. Such digestive conditions may include nausea, indigestion, and vomiting.


Women sometimes experience a severe and unusual bout of fatigue days or some weeks before a heart attack. You may feel so exhausted even after the least demanding chores and tasks. If you are weighed down by fatigue time and again, then you need to contact your doctor.

Shortness of Breath

Running short of breath isn’t something that should worry you whenever you have a sprint or engage in any activity that demands a lot of effort and endurance, but it becomes a problem if you are taking too long to recover or if the activity you were engaged in was not exerting. At times, you may just be lying down when the shortness of breath comes, relieving you as soon as you sit up. If you experience shortness of breath with weakness or chest pain, without exerting efforts, this may be a symptom of a heart condition.


Sweating is perfectly normal until it becomes excessive, too frequent, and without any cause. Some women who suffer heart attacks sweat profusely for days without cause. They may also feel clammy and cold, even while sweating continuously

Sleep Disturbances

Peach Juice: Benefits and Side EffectsHeart problems and the tension which comes with it can disrupt your sleep. About 50% of women who have heart attacks have difficulty sleeping weeks before a heart attack. They may suffer a short episode of insomnia or wake up several times between their sleep. If your sleep is disturbed just as much or you cannot seem to get enough rest, no matter how much sleep you get, this can be a symptom of a potential heart attack.

There are also some unique symptoms and risks of a heart attack for women after menopause. These risks are mostly increased by decreasing estrogen levels. Some post-menopause heart attack symptoms include severe chest pains, irregular heartbeat, racing heartbeats, profuse sweating, and pain around the neck, stomach, jaw, back, and arms.

4 Heart Attack Risk Factors in Women

Family History

A leading risk factor for heart attacks is family history. If you have a male relative who experienced a heart attack when he was about 55 years old or a female relative who has had a heart attack at 65, then this is a recognized history of a heart attack in your family.


Age is also a significant determinant of the risk of having a heart attack. Everyone above the age of 55 and older has a greater risk of developing a heart attack, depending on their cardiovascular health. For women, it is speculated that this is because some hormones which have been protective of the heart become less effective after menopause.

Medical Conditions

Other medical conditions like diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and obesity further raises the risk of having a heart attack. During pregnancy, health conditions such as preeclampsia (or a history of preeclampsia), PCOS and endometriosis increase the risk of a heart attack in women.

Lifestyle Choices

Some habits or lifestyle choices can also raise the risk of having a heart attack. Smoking tobacco or using and abusing stimulant drugs such as cocaine are bad for your heart and will increase its vulnerability to heart diseases. Also, having a sedentary lifestyle and undergoing high levels of stress can raise the risk of having a heart attack even higher.

Most women who have clocked 40 years should have regular check-ups. This way, it is easier to quickly find risk factors and treat the condition before it reaches a climax. Heart attacks can be fatal; it is best to deal with the symptoms and have medical interventions before it emerges.

Now that you Know…

At any time a person has a heart attack, it is a medical emergency and help must be readily available. If you notice some warning signs of someone about to have a heart attack, call for help immediately. Some of the signs you should be looking out for include shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, respiratory difficulty and pain in the upper part of the body. Emergency treatment saves over 90% of lives endangered by a heart attack. Remember, in all you do, eat heart-healthy meals and exercise regularly.