- Women’s Health
- Healthy Living
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- Nurse Barb
Did you know that when a woman has a heart attack, she may not have the same symptoms as men. Only about 60 % of women will experience crushing chest pain, while the 70% of men have chest pain with a heart attack.
Because women’s symptoms may be more subtle and not as obvious as men’s are, this can delay treatment, which puts a woman at increased risk.
In an emergency, it’s critical to know the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
Men may experience:
Women’s symptoms are often different:
Only about 1/3 of women having a heart attack will experience crushing chest pain
Women may have some or all of these symptoms with a heart attack:
If you have these symptoms or any chest pain that occurs with exercise or activity, don’t wait, call 911.
Why women hesitate to call
Many women think that they couldn’t possibly be having a heart attack because they don’t have crushing chest pain or some of the other common signs and symptoms that men have. And, before you judge this next statement, just know that many women also hesitate because their symptoms seem mild and they don’t want to inconvenience anyone, especially emergency responders.
When in doubt, call 911
I know a woman who had burning chest pain, sweating and then fainted in her yard in front of her family. When she woke up after a few minutes, she insisted that the family continue their plans to go to dinner with her and not call 911, because she was feeling a little better and she didn’t want to spoil the plans they made to go out to dinner. It was only weeks later when she had crushing chest pain and couldn’t breathe that she decided to get to the Emergency room, where she learned that yes, this was a having a heart attack, and her fainting spell was also her sign of a heart attack.
New lifesaving technologies
Once you call 911, there are new lifesaving technologies that help people get the care they need as fast as possible. The Lifenet system helps saves valuable time by transmitting crucial patient information while en route to the hospital, enabling a person who needs cardiovascular surgery to whiz right past any delays in the ER and get right to the cardiac cath lab.
We know that women experience symptoms of heart attack differently than men do. Where men often have crushing chest pain, women may feel an overwhelming sense of fatigue or break out into a cold sweat. Women’s warning signs of impending heart attack are also different from mens.
Sometimes we forget that it’s not just our plumbing that’s different. Our brains, our hormones, and yes, even our hearts are different from men’s. While many men have some slight chest pain, according to the National Institutes of Health.