It is better for women to know about coronary heart disease symptoms, because this ailment is the leading cause of disability as well as death among women. On an average, women may experience these symptoms about 10 years later than men, and the symptoms themselves could be different from those that are easily identifiable as a heart disease.
Most common coronary heart disease symptoms in women
Discomfort or pressure
We expect heart disease to produce chest pain, but only about 30% of women report to experiencing chest discomfort and even then it is tightness, a pressure and a sharp or burning sensation; a tingling or fullness rather than just pain. It could be discomfort in the abdominal area, the shoulder, neck, upper back or arm that could signal heart disease. Very often women report to experiencing a burning sensation in their chest and upper abdominal area
The coronary heart disease symptoms of women are often more subtle because the blockages may also be present in the smaller arteries not just the larger ones (what is known as microvascular or small vessel heart disease).
Tiredness and sleep disturbances
Women very often experience low energy levels and find themselves getting fatigued easily. They may find that they are having disturbed sleep at night and that they do not awaken refreshed.
Digestive and other disturbances
Nausea, vomiting, indigestion and other abdominal discomfort also could be among the symptoms of heart disease in women. There could also be sweating (cold sweat) and a feeling of lightheadedness or dizziness. Women also report to feeling anxious or generally uneasy.
What to do when you experience coronary heart disease symptoms
If you experience some of the above symptoms, experts recommend to firstly stop whatever you’re doing and sit down or rest. The next step is to keep a nitroglycerine tablet and to let it dissolve under the tongue. If the symptoms persist even after 5 minutes, call 911 or the number for emergency services where you are.
It is best to wait for an ambulance and to avoid driving yourself to the hospital unless there is really no option. Chew on an aspirin tablet as you wait for the ambulance and continue the nitroglycerine as prescribed. Make sure that aspirin is safe for you; however, if you have any bleeding disorders or an aspirin allergy you shouldn’t take an aspirin.
To avoid coronary heart disease symptoms in the future
Have proper tests and investigations done so that proper treatment can be started. Consider procedures such as angioplasty if recommended and take medications as prescribed regularly and on time each day.
Find out if you have any other conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and so on and also find out about your cholesterol and triglyceride levels to make sure that these are in control.
Exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight. If you are a smoker, give up smoking. All of this can help contribute to good health and reduce incidence of coronary heart disease symptoms in the future.