Did you know women are less likely to survive heart attacks than men? The symptoms of heart attacks can sometimes differ between sexes and the attacks for women are more silent. A study from 2003 shows 80% of women experience the major symptoms before the attack but have no knowledge of it.

Understanding the signs, risks, and preventive measures specific to women is crucial for early detection and effective management of heart health. In this blog, we will be shedding light on some important facts women should know about heart attack.

Before we dive in, here is an example of a silent heart attack. Yvonne, a 45-year-old mother of two, experienced intense pressure in her chest one evening after dinner. Fearful of alarming her family, she dismissed it as indigestion. The discomfort persisted, accompanied by nausea and sweating, prompting her husband to insist on seeking medical help. At the hospital, doctors initially diagnosed Yvonne with anxiety, attributing her symptoms to stress. However, further evaluation revealed she was experiencing a heart attack. Yvonne case underscores the challenge of diagnosing heart attacks in women, often overshadowed by assumptions or misinterpretation of symptoms.

Women often shoulder caregiving responsibilities for family members, which can detract from their ability to prioritize their own health needs. Balancing caregiving duties with seeking medical care for symptoms of a heart attack can lead to delays in diagnosis and treatment. Research suggests that gender bias persists in healthcare settings, with stereotypes and misconceptions influencing the assessment and management of women’s cardiovascular health. Women’s complaints of chest pain, for example, may be attributed to non-cardiac causes more frequently than men’s, leading to delays in diagnosis and treatment.

Important symptoms of heart attacks in women are:

  1. Tightening in the chest.
  2. Shortness of breath without exertion.
  3. Light-headedness/dizziness.
  4. Upper body pain, particularly in the neck, jaw, etc.
  5. Excessive sweating without prior cause.

The risk of heart attack increases due to falling estrogen levels after menopause.

Here are some tips for preventing a heart attack:

  • Taking steps to manage other health conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
  • Engaging in at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity every day, such as walking.
  • Eating a balanced diet and visiting a dietitian if necessary for dietary advice.
  • Reducing stress levels.
  • Learn your family health history and risk factors. Increased risk from family history cannot be changed, but it helps guide lifestyle modifications.
  • Get regular checkups with your doctor to monitor blood pressure, cholesterol levels and check for any abnormalities.
  • Educate other women. Share knowledge of symptoms and risk factors to encourage each other to prioritize heart health.
  • Never dismiss or delay seeking help concerning symptoms like chest pain and discomfort. An initial misdiagnosis could prove fatal as in Yvonne’s case. It’s always best to get evaluated.
  • Inform friends and family of typical heart attack symptoms so they can recognize signs and insist on medical care if experiencing them.

By seeking help in the early stages, a person could reduce their risk of developing heart damage. A heart attack is a medical emergency. If a person shows symptoms of one, they should seek medical help immediately.

For emergencies or additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email at info@avonmedical.com or by phone at (+234)-908-799-4655 or (+234)-908-799-4656.