How Heart Attack Symptoms Differ in Men and Women
Heart attacks are a terrifying reality for the vast majority of Americans. 715,000 people have heart attacks every year in the United States. And one in every four deaths in America can be attributed to heart disease. But what many people do not know is that the symptoms of a heart attack vary in almost every case. In particular, there is a huge difference between the way men experience a heart attack and the way women experience a heart attack.
Symptoms Women Experience During Heart Attack
It has long been known that women can experience a heart attack without the chest pressure that is characteristic in most of their male counterparts. Women are much more likely to experience symptoms that resemble the flu, acid reflux, or normal aging. Women also frequently report upper back pressure, dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting. It is very common for women to ignore these symptoms especially when they are thinking about putting their family first.
In a study recently conducted using 515 women a shocking 95 percent of participants reported that they began to experience unusual symptoms up to a month or more before having a heart attack. The biggest changes they saw were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbance, shortness of breath, indigestion, and anxiety.
The most surprising result of the study was that chest pain was found to play a remarkably smaller role in women’s heart attacks than it did in men’s. Only 30% of women said they had any chest pain leading up to the heart attack and only 43% said they had pain during the actual heart attack.
Ultimately, much more research needs to be done to fully understand the differences in the way heart attacks affect men and women differently. Especially given the huge amount of variability and unpredictability that was seen between the way each women in the study experienced heart attacks.