Heart attack symptoms in women- Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, and Prevention

HEART-ATTACK-IN-WOMEN

Telemedicine Department

Introduction  

The flow of blood to the heart is greatly reduced or blocked by a condition called Myocardial infarction or Heart attack.  

Heart attack occurs due to

  • Atherosclerosis (fatty deposits) inside arteries that carry blood to the heart muscles form as plaque, which builds up & narrows the inside of the arteries, making it difficult for blood to flow and resulting in a Heart attack.

Causes of Heart attack

The following are the causes and risk factors of Heart attacks.

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  • Diabetes & Obesity – Women with Diabetes tend to develop heart disease at an increased rate than men with Diabetes.  
  • Emotional stress and depression  
  • Smoking  
  • Oral Contraceptive Pills (OCPs) – Oestrogen in hormone patches, implants, vaginal rings & injections can cause an increase in blood clotting, which leads to an increased risk of a Heart attack.  
  • Menopause & Pregnancy complications  
  • Family history of early heart disease  
  • High cholesterol and high blood pressure  
  • Inflammatory diseases.  

Heart attack symptoms for women  

Symptoms of Heart attack in women are

  • Chest discomfort/chest pain with neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or upper belly (abdomen) discomfort.  
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness & heaviness  
  • Pain in one or both shoulders till little finger
  • Experiencing an urgent sensation of vomiting
  • Palpitations & profuse sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Unusual fatigue  
  • A sense of pain is usually felt behind the breast bone or also known as the sternum.   

Heart failure symptoms  

People with heart failure are more prone to getting a heart attack, so it is essential to know the symptoms of heart failure. These include

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Swelling in the legs, ankles and feet
  • Persistent cough with white or pink blood-tinged mucus or wheezing.  

 Prevention of Heart attacks

Lifestyle management is the key to managing Heart attacks in women.

  • Quit smoking  
  • Healthy & balanced diet – Choose whole grains, fruits & vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy products and fewer meats. Avoid saturated or trans fats, high amounts of salt and added sugars.  
  • Exercise and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Manage stress – Stress can cause the arteries to tighten & increases the risk of heart disease, that is, coronary microvascular disease.   
  • Avoid or limit alcohol.  
  • On regular medications under follow-up – blood pressure medications, blood thinners, aspirin & statins are to be taken under regular follow-up.  
  • Regular walking, exercise – helps to maintain a healthy heart.  

Treatment for Heart attacks

Treatment options for Heart attack are

  • Conservatively management – Combined therapy with nitroglycerin, aspirin, statins & beta blockers.  
  • Coronary Angiogram – Diagnostic invasive procedure to identify the number of blocks, their sites & severity.  
  • Coronary angioplasty and stenting – These invasive procedures are done to open clogged arteries, which are called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), to treat single or double vessel disease.  
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) – CABG helps to treat triple vessel disease.  

Conclusion  

Heart diseases are preventable. Women are more likely to experience Heart attack symptoms like shortness of breath, back or jaw pain and nausea. Heart attack requires prompt medical attention. Appropriate, balanced food, adequate sleep and stress-free, lifestyle modifications like regular exercise & walking will help to reduce the incidences of Heart attacks.

 FAQs

What is a Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)?

When the blood flow to the heart is severely reduced or blocked, it results in Myocardial infarction.

What are the symptoms & causes of MI?

· Chest discomfort, palpitations and profuse sweating are the most common symptoms of MI.
High cholesterol, high BP, uncontrolled Diabetes, smoking, obesity, inadequate sleep and stress are the most common causes of MI.

What is lifetime management & prevention?  

Quitting smoking, regular exercise, walking, adequate sleep & balanced diet are the preventive lifestyle management for MI.

 How is it treated conservatively?  

Combined therapy with nitroglycerin, aspirin, statins & beta blockers are the conservative management of MI.

 What are the invasive procedures to manage MI?  

Coronary angioplasty – stenting is an invasive procedure to manage MI.


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