Heart attack occurs when a blood clot totally blocks the artery and the heart muscle gets starved of oxygen. The coronary arteries supply oxygen rich blood to the heart muscles. Blood clots are formed when the arteries get choked with fatty substances, calcium, protein and other inflammatory cells. The moment the blood supply gets cut, the heart muscle dies resulting in a heart attack.
The symptoms of a heart attack are different in men and women. It is important to watch out for any abnormalities and report them to the physician on time. Understanding the signals that our body gives us before/during a heart attack will help us in reacting to the situation better.
According to Rejuven8, a well-known non-surgical heart treatment centre in Mumbai, the following are the seven warning signs of heart attack in women. The list is not exhaustive but covers a wide range of symptoms.
Exhaustion: One of the mostcommon symptoms of a heart attack is unusual fatigue and the inability to perform even the simplest of the tasks like, getting up, walking, lifting etc. Women often experience Flu-like fatigue which is different from fatigue arising from a hormonal imbalance.
Sleep Disturbances: Struggling to fall asleep may indicate a heart attack. Trouble in falling asleep may be due to many reasons which are often dismissed as normal. If there is prolonged disturbance with sleeping, the body might be warning you of a heart attack.
Pain and Discomfort: Women experience pain in their jaw, ear, neck, shoulder and back as opposed to the traditional numbness in the chest and shoulder that men experience. The mild aches in the jaw might go down to the shoulders, breastbone and backbone. Some women describe it as the squeezing pain after being tied by a rope.
Breathlessness: Inability to breathe properly, shortage of breath, inability to speak due to oxygen deficiency all aresymptoms of a heart attack. These signals warn the body that there is shortage of oxygen and it needs to be addressed immediately. Breathlessness can be compared to the one after running a marathon. It is just that you are experiencing it being at the same place.
Nausea and Indigestion: Heart attack is often confused with acidity or other gastrointestinal problems in the first instance. Studies have shown that most women experience indigestion, nausea, vomit and dizziness before their heart attack. Sometimes the abdominal pain is compared to that of an elephant sitting on your stomach.
Stress and Anxiety: This is another very common symptom of heart attack among women. Stress and anxiety along with increased heart beat are signs of a heart attack. It feels as if the world is going to come to an end.
Sudden Sweat:Sudden burst of cold sweat along with light-headedness and dizziness are all signs of a heart attack.
If you experience any of the above symptoms and are not sure whether it’s a heart attack or not, you must immediately ask for help to be taken to the hospital. The chances of survival are high if the person reaches the hospital within an hour of the heart attack.
Many women ignore the symptoms as they appear subtler and sometimes confusing. In such situations it is better to be safe than sorry. Avoid delay in getting help as it is the question of your life. There is no need to feel silly even if the pain does not turn out to be a heart attack. Similarly, in such situations do not drive yourself to the hospital as it may end up being fatal to you or somebody else. Always ask for an ambulance.