Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) remain the leading cause of death in women. More women as compared to men die annually from CVD in Western countries. There are both sex (biologic) and gender (sociocultural) differences in CVD. However in India at present men dominate the cardiac disease mortality burden. Women due to their sedentary lifestyle and the habit of ignoring their signs and symptoms are definitely at a high risk in India.
Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack in Women:
Symptoms of Heart Attack in women typically include chest pain or chest pressure, including a squeezing pain radiating to the neck, shoulder, arm, back, jaw. Evidence suggests sex differences in symptom perception wherein women are ‘ATYPICAL’. Symptoms are often nonspecific or less severe and can include shortness of breath, pain and discomfort in other part of body locations, such as that localized to the arm shoulder, middle of the back, jaw, or epigastrium (central part of upper abdomen); indigestion; nausea or vomiting; excessive sweating; faintness, dizziness, or syncope; fatigue; generalized weakness; or palpitation.
Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack WITHOUT chest pressure. Many women think the signs of a heart attack are unmistakable — the image of the elephant comes to mind — but in fact they can be subtler and sometimes confusing. You could feel so short of breath, “as though you ran a marathon, but you haven’t made a move”.
Women need to take their heart seriously:
Studies conducted on women like WISE study confirmed a high prevalence of atypical symptoms; more frequent symptoms, including those at rest; and more stress related symptoms in women.
Even though heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the India, women often chalk up the symptoms to less life-threatening conditions like acid reflux, the flu or normal aging. They do this because they are scared and because they put their families first. There are still many women who are shocked that they could be having a heart attack.
If you aren’t feeling normal or are experiencing any of the symptoms above, head to you local emergency room. It is better to take care of yourself and prevent damage to your heart, in the event you are having a heart attack.