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Posted by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 5:22 PM
  • 14 Replies

About 6 months ago my SIL had a heart attack she is 32 years old... I posted this back then but I thought I would repost it.

Symptoms of heart attacks for women.

What women don't know, according to the National Institute of Health, is that nearly half of women experience no chest pain at all during an acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Heart attack symptoms in women are much more subtle and may be mistaken for other conditions.

Heart Attack Symptoms in Women--Early Warning

One way heart attacks differ between men and women is that women may start to show symptoms earlier. The National Institute of Health released a study showing that in the thirty days prior to a heart attack, women were likely to experience vague symptoms such as shortness of breath, unusual tiredness or fatigue, and sleep disturbances.

Most women discounted these symptoms, or attirubted them to other benign medical problems such as anxiety, a touch of flu, or a normal aging process. They did not see a doctor. Only in retrospect did women realize that these symptoms were actually an early warning of the heart attack to come.

Heart Attack Symptoms in Women--The Actual Attack

Even during an AMI, up to 43% of women report no chest pain. The heart attack symptoms females report include:

  • Cold sweat or feeling clammy
  • Sudden weakness, fatigue, or dizziness
  • Racing heart or very fast pulse
  • Anxiety
  • Stomach or abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting that does not respond to treatment
  • Swelling of the feet, ankles, and lower legs
  • Pain in the lower jaw
  • Pain or discomfort in the back, usually along the bra line

Heart Attacks in Women--The Survival Statistics

Unfortunately, women heart attack survival statistics are not encouraging. Among women ages 25 to 44, AMIs are the third leading cause of death. Among women age 45 to 64, they are the second leading cause of death. Compared to men, women are less likely to survive the initial heart attack, less likely to get out of the hospital alive, and more likely to die within a year of their heart attack.

This may be because women don't recognize the heart attack symptoms and therefore put off seeking help until it is too late, or it may be because women have smaller hearts that are able to sustain less damage before failing completely.

Heart Attacks in Women--Improving the Odds

Mothers have been telling their children for years that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that is certainly the case when it comes to women and heart disease. Living a heart-smart lifestyle by maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and not smoking is the best way to avoid dealing with heart disease.

However, women should also be aware of heart attack symptoms and should seek help immediately if these symptoms occur. Some women may be tempted to put off seeking medical attention for fear of being embarrassed if they're wrong. However most doctors would rather rule out a hundred mistaken AMIs than miss one real one.

Finally, after a heart attack, women should be especially diligent about following up with a cardiologist and following their doctor's instructions closely.

Heart disease often "hides" in women, so it's important to know the symptoms and be assertive about seeking needed care.

If you are having a heart attack call 911 and take a NON COATED 325 mg asprin and CHEW it. That will get the asprin into your system fastest.

by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 5:22 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 5:25 PM


by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 5:26 PM

THank you momma... its good for us that know to have reminders. & for those of us that had no clue.

by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 5:27 PM

I knew this but thanks for sharing with others!



by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 5:29 PM

Thanks for posting mom had a massive heart attack 3 years ago...she survived but the damage was done and they were not able to do a bypass,she is also on oxgen now...had she went to the doctors earlier in the day the outcome would have been alot diffrent....she is a fighter though we walk 2 miles a day together and i am thankful for everyday that i get to spend with her!

by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 5:30 PM


by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 5:31 PM


by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 5:32 PM

THANKS, bump.

I'm a toe-stubbing, coffee drinking, loud laughing, chocolate addicted, chunky mom with a totally inappropriate sense of humor.
Educated moms don't ASSume that parenting choices are one size fits all.

by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 5:33 PM


by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 5:35 PM

red ribbon

I may stay at home but that doesn't mean I don't work!

by on Feb. 5, 2009 at 5:38 PM


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