Think you know the classic symptoms of a heart attack? You’re probably thinking of crushing pain in the chest, radiating down the left arm. Right? Only if you’re a man!
You see, women experience pain differently from men, largely because of their different hormones.
Identifying the symptoms of a heart attack in women can be hard for women—and even for their doctors.
Many women never experience the crushing chest pain so common to men. That’s why you should be aware of the many different ways a heart attack can present itself, and seek medical attention as soon as you can. [heart disease in women]
The pain a woman experiences in her chest may feel more like heartburn than a crushing pain. If you have the sensation of heart burn, but it isn’t just after a meal, your pain could be heart related.
You may also experience a dull ache, or pain across the top of your stomach. You can have discomfort in either arm or in both. You may experience discomfort, mild or severe, in your jaw, neck, back, or stomach as well.
If you find yourself experiencing episodes of shortness of breath, you may be having heart related problems. Talk to your doctor, especially if shortness of breath is accompanied by fainting, cold sweats, or dizziness.
If you have sleep apnea, you are more likely to have problems with your heart. When your breathing is regularly interrupted, heart attacks are more likely.
If you experience an episode of sleep apnea, or wake up from sleep gasping for breath, and continue to have trouble breathing, you could be experiencing a heart attack.
Feeling unusually fatigued or weak can also signal heart problems. When your heart isn’t working properly, your blood, which carries oxygen and nutrients, doesn’t get around to the different parts of your body the way it should.
Feeling anxious can also be a sign of a heart attack. While we all experience anxiety in response to stressful events, if you notice an unusual amount of anxiety, talk with your doctor.
Of course, if you experience “classic” symptoms of a heart attack, do not rule out a heart attack just because “those symptoms only affect men.”
If you take one thing away from this article, let it be that a heart attack can present in women in a myriad of ways that even doctors have trouble diagnosing. If you just simply “don’t feel right,” see your doctor.