Heart attack: The area pain ‘is more likely to spread’ if you are a woman – symptoms
Symptoms can also differ between men and women. If you have had a heart attack, it’s important that you rest while you wait for an ambulance, to avoid unnecessary strain on your heart. A heart attack occurs where the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked.
The main symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness and sweating.
Women may experience any of the heart attack warning signs. However, they can sometimes experience heart attacks slightly differently to men, according to The National Heart Foundation.
The charity says women may also experience unexplained tiredness prior to developing other heart attack symptoms.
As with men, heart attack symptoms you may experience – as a woman – may not surround the chest as one might expect.
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Nonetheless, there are a number of symptoms the charity outlines, which may appear in women having heart attacks.
The pain is “more likely to spread as far as the shoulders, neck, abdomen and even the back,” says the organisation.
In women, the pain may feel more like indigestion and not be consistent.
There may not be pain but unexplained anxiety, nausea, dizziness, palpitations and cold sweat, it adds.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says as a woman, your hormones might give you some protection from coronary heart disease in your pre-menopause years.
Post menopause, “your risk rises and continues to rise as you get older”.
Indeed, coronary heart disease kills more than twice as many women as breast cancer in the UK every year, and is the single biggest killer of women worldwide.
“Despite this, it’s often considered a man’s disease,” the charity notes.
The charity says that women may be less likely to seek medical attention and treatment quickly, despite the warning signs, which can reduce your chance of survival.
The NHS notes that it is important to know that not everyone experiences severe chest pain, and the pain can often be mild and mistaken for indigestion.
The health body also outlines a number of steps you can take to reduce your chances of a heart attack.
It says smokers should quit smoking, moderate your alcohol consumption, and you should aim to lose weight if you’re overweight or obese.
The NHS also says that to reduce your risk of a heart attack, you should do regular exercise – and recommends adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, “unless advised otherwise by the doctor in charge of your care”.
You should also be on a low-fat, high-fibre diet, including wholegrains and at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
In hospital, treatment for a heart attack depends on how serious it is.
The time it takes to recover from a heart attack will depend on the amount of damage to your heart muscle.
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