Although heart attacks happen to both men and women with nearly equal frequency, many people still see them as a man’s problem. In reality, approximately 435,000 women have heart attacks each year, and between the ages of 30 and 54, they are more likely to die from them than men, usually because they delay seeking treatment. Heart attacks often present with a different set of symptoms in women than in men, and it’s essential for women to learn to recognize the signs so they can get vital care in the ER immediately. Here is a look at the way women usually experience heart attacks, so you know when to seek help for yourself or someone you love.
Chest pain is a ubiquitous heart attack symptom, but women’s chest pain is often different than the crushing pain men feel. Instead, chest pain in women may feel like fullness or a squeezing pain that isn’t necessarily centered on the heart area. Many women feel a general sense of discomfort around their chests that may or may not be identifiable as being related to the heart.
During a cardiac crisis, women often break out in a sweat that is similar to nervous or stress-related sweating. In fact, some women may dismiss the sweating as just that, or as a symptom of menopause. If you begin sweating in a way that isn’t normal for you and you haven’t been active, get your symptoms checked out by a doctor.
Many female heart attack survivors report feeling extreme fatigue both during their heart attacks and in the days leading up to them. During a heart attack, you may feel too exhausted to do even the simplest activity. You may also feel a general sense of exhaustion in your chest, as though you had performed an intense aerobic workout.
If you experience any possible heart attack symptoms, head immediately to the ER at St. Petersburg General Hospital. Our ER doctors and Chest Pain Center will diagnose the cause of your symptoms and start treatment fast. Find out more about our St. Petersburg hospital’s services, including stroke care and our Breast Center, by calling (888) 741-5122.