A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is restricted. The blockage is most often a buildup of fat, cholesterol, and other substances, which form a plaque in the arteries that feed the heart (coronary arteries).
The plaque eventually breaks away and forms a clot. The interrupted blood flow can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle.
A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, can be fatal, but treatment has improved dramatically over the years. It’s crucial to call 911 or emergency medical help if you think you might be having a heart attack.
Some heart attacks strike suddenly, but many people have warning signs and symptoms hours, days or weeks in advance. The earliest warning might be recurrent chest pain or pressure.
Not all people who have heart attacks have the same symptoms or have the same severity of symptoms. Some people have mild pain; others have more severe pain. Some people have no symptoms; for others, the first sign may be sudden cardiac arrest. However, the more signs and symptoms you have, the greater the likelihood you’re having a heart attack.
Doctors may be more likely to dismiss heart attack symptoms as not heart-related in women younger than age 55, according to a study published online Feb. 20, 2018, by Circulation.
This may be the case because women often report other symptoms in addition to chest pain, said the study’s authors.
Indigestion; or shortness of breath. In addition, women were more likely than men to tell their doctors that they thought the symptoms might be stress-related.
Heart attacks don’t always cause common symptoms. They can start slowly and cause only mild pain or discomfort. Symptoms can be mild or more intense and sudden. Symptoms also may come and go over several hours. Women who have high blood sugar (diabetes) may have no symptoms or very mild ones.
Female Heart Attack Symptoms
Female heart attack symptoms are very much the same as symptoms for a male.
- Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw or back
- Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweat
- Lightheartedness or sudden dizziness
Symptoms of female heart attach only an indication. Please see your cardiologist or call us to get a proper diagnosis.