Heart Attack in Women: Symptoms, Causes & Prevention

Heart attacks and heart diseases are often perceived to be a man’s disease. However, the shocking fact is that more women than men die of heart attacks and heart related diseases in India every year. One challenge is that the symptoms of heart attack in women can be different from that in men. 

Heart Attack Symptoms in Women
Most people recognize chest pain as a warning sign of a heart attack as this is one of the most common heart attack symptoms. However, a recent study has shown that a good percentage of women can experience a heart attack minus chest pain. They more often show symptoms such as: 
  • Neck, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Unusual fatigue
These symptoms are more subtle than the intense crushing chest pain often associated with heart attacks. Due to this many women come to hospital late by which time much heart damage has already occurred. Call for emergency medical help immediately if you experience these heart attack symptoms.

What Causes Heart Attack in Women
Traditional risk factors like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity do increasingly contribute and does cause heart attack in women and men. However, other factors that are listed below also play a bigger role in causing heart attack in women:
  • Metabolic syndrome — a combination of fat around your abdomen, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high triglycerides has a greater impact on women than on men.
  • Depression and mental stress affect the heart of the women more than men, making women more susceptible to a heart attack.
  • Another greater risk factor for heart attack in women is smoking
  • Post menopause, the lowering of levels of estrogen in women also poses as a risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease in the smaller blood vessels.
You may also want to read about increasing incidences of heart diseases in working women

How to Prevent Heart Attack
  • Quitting smoking
  • Managing blood sugar level
  • Keeping blood pressure under control
  • Lowering the cholesterol level
  • Knowing the family history
  • Exercising 30 to 60 minutes, preferably everyday
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt. read about 5 diet tips for a healthy heart
Also, women who have a higher risk can also lower their risks and prevent heart attack by having appropriate intake of supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids.

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