It’s easy to miss heart attack symptoms at the initial stages because symptoms show up differently in women than in men. In fact, the top four symptoms are often misdiagnosed. Immediate intervention can mean life or death, so it’s a good idea for all women to be aware of the warning signs of heart attacks.
- Shortness of breath. It may occur with or without chest discomfort.
- Nausea and light-headedness.
- Flu-like symptoms, including chills and cold sweats.
- Heart palpitations.
- Chest discomfort (angina): pain, tightness or pressure in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back.
- Discomfort in other areas, including pain or discomfort in: one or both arms (especially the left arm), the back, between the shoulder blades, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Heartburn or indigestion.
- Extreme fatigue.
- Elevated levels of CRP, homocysteine, or LDL.
- High blood pressure.
- Insulin resistance or diabetes.
- Joint pain or arthritis.
- GI distress, bloating, constipation/diarrhea.
- Food and other allergies/sensitivities.
- Chronic respiratory difficulties, asthma, or bronchitis.
- Dry, itchy skin, rash, psoriasis or eczema.
- Weight gain/obesity.
- Fever or chronic infection.
Among the 515 women studied, 95-percent said they knew their symptoms were new or different a month or more before experiencing their heart attack. The symptoms most commonly reported were unusual fatigue (70.6-percent), sleep disturbance (47.8-percent), and shortness of breath (42.1-percent).
Surprisingly, fewer than 30% reported having chest pain or discomfort prior to their heart attacks, and 43% reported to have no chest pain during any phase of the attack. Most doctors, however, continue to consider chest pain as the most important heart attack symptom in both women and men.
If you have any questions or concern, you should seek the advice of a heart specialist.
Information provided by Inland Heart Doctors