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Heart Attack In Women- Silent Killer?

Heart Attack In Women- Silent Killer?

The heart attack symptoms in women are different from men. Heart attack in women is often silent killers as early signs are not felt or may be ignored. Deep dive into this article to know more about female heart attack symptoms.

What is meant by a “silent heart attack”?

There are numerous instances where the person having a heart attack was unaware as it did not have the usual symptoms of shortness of breath, cold sweat or even chest pain.

A silent heart attack or silent ischemia is a condition where the heart attack comes without any or some minimal symptoms. But one should not take silent heart attacks lightly and put them off as a symptom of fatigue as they are the same as the other form of a heart attack. The blood flowing into the heart gets disrupted, damaging the heart muscle.

Some non-specific silent heart attack symptoms

However, one says silent heart attacks are devoid of symptoms; on many occasions, they exhibit some non-specific symptoms which people overlook. Some of these symptoms are as follows:

  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Indigestion without any apparent reason
  • Muscle pain in the chest or upper back

Signs of a heart attack

Apart from some signs of silent heart attacks, as explained above, it is advisable to take cognizance of the symptoms in the traditional form of a heart attack. Some of the signs of a heart attack include:

  • Chest pain continuing for more than a few minutes
  • Cold sweat
  • Tiredness, reasons for which cannot be explained
  • Feeling shortness of breath
  • Feeling light in the head
  • Feeling of discomfort in the upper part of the body
  • Tendency to vomit and a general feeling of nausea
  • Having indigestion without any apparent reason

Somebody with an ischemic heart condition may experience pain in the chest while moving around; if the pain does not subside even after one has stopped moving, this may be a sign of a heart attack. In this case, advice from a medical practitioner should be sought without delay.

Signs of a heart attack in women

Some of the common signs of heart attack noticed in women are as follows:

  • Sustained pain in the chest
  • Scathing pain in the jaw
  • Back pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Nausea
  • Pain or a feeling of discomfort in the arms
  • Feeling of heaviness or a squeezing sensation at the centre of the chest

What are the common causes of heart attack?

The most common cause of heart attack is coronary artery disease. In that condition, the heart arteries get choked. The reason is often plaques which are deposits of cholesterol. These plaques slow down blood flow into the heart by narrowing down the passageways of the arteries. A total or partial coronary artery blockage may also cause heart attacks.

However, heart attacks may be caused due to some other reasons not related to arterial complications. Some of the other causes of heart attack are as under:

  • Vasospastic Angina – under this condition, the blood vessels not blocked get squeezed. If the person experiencing this condition is a smoker, the risk increases.
  • SCAD – the complete form is spontaneous coronary artery dissection; the coronary artery gets torn under this condition.
  • Comorbidities – if a person gets affected by Covid-19 and has smoking or drinking habits, those work as comorbidities and may cause heart attacks.

Risk factors of heart attack

  • Age – the risk of heart attack goes up with advancing age. A woman, after attaining the age of 55, has the risk of a heart attack going up.
  • Obesity – generally, obesity increases the risk of diabetes and high cholesterol, which is terrible for the heart.
  • tobacco addiction – tobacco consumption in any form is unsuitable for the heart. A person having an addiction to tobacco is more at risk for a heart attack.
  • BP – consistent high BP (blood pressure) is not good as it strains the artery and may lead to a heart attack.
  • Cholesterol – a condition of high cholesterol that is harmful to the heart as the same narrows down the artery and the blood flow into the heart gets impaired.
  • Diabetes – the presence of a high level of sugar in the blood increases the risk of a heart ailment.
  • Lack of exercise – a sedentary lifestyle is detrimental to the heart’s health condition.
  • Family history – a person with a family history of heart attacks is more prone than someone without a generational track record of heart ailments.

Some women-specific causes of heart attack

Few probable causes of heart attacks are typically found in women. Conditions like polycystic ovary or endometriosis can only happen in a female body, increasing the chances of heart attacks. Women having endometriosis have a 62% more chance of having heart attacks.

Also, women who develop high blood pressure and gestational diabetes at the time of their pregnancy have more probability of having health complications relating to the heart.

Popular heart attack treatment practices

The treatment of the heart is a combination of medication and lifestyle management. Once the symptoms of a heart attack are detected, a medical expert must be consulted. Some of the tests that are prescribed in the initial phase are:

  • Blood Tests – specialized blood tests are done to identify the cardiac markers.
  • ECG – electrocardiogram tests are being done to record the functioning of the heart.
  • Echocardiogram – the spot of the heart which has been affected can be identified using sound waves.
  • Angiogram – a dye is being put in the catheter inserted in the artery. This test helps in making the arteries more visible during the test.
  • MRI – this test shows the severity of the cardiac attack. The image of the heart is created through a magnetic field and radio waves.

Apart from the tests some common medications that are being prescribed are drugs like statin, aspirin, nitroglycerine, beta-blockers, Morphin etc. All the medicines are to be consumed under the strict supervision of a medical expert.

Parting Thought

As in the case of men, it is critically important for women to change their lifestyles to mitigate the risks of heart attacks. A regular exercise regime, healthy diet plan, quitting tobacco and alcohol, losing weight, and timely doctor visits are of utmost importance. In case you have a heart attack, experts recommend attending rehab programs run by experts. People having cardiac conditions are put through personalized workout plans and dietary charts in these rehab programs.

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