Many of us don’t realise that heart attack victims describe different symptoms, based on their gender.
Men report experiencing the classic Hollywood symptoms of a heart attack: chest pain. But for women, frighteningly, the symptoms could easily be attributed to other conditions.
Think about it: disrupted sleep, flu-like symptoms, indigestion, anxiety, extreme fatigue, back or neck pain. Most women would say they experience these daily to some degree or another. In fact, they’re so generalised and common you might easily attribute them to the coffee you had late in the afternoon, the rushing around you did after work, or the sandwich you ate on the run that made you feel a little bloated.
Men more commonly experience the following (more sinister) symptoms: weakness, shortness of breath, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, and dizziness.
Perhaps this is why 50% of women who have heart attacks experience NO chest pain at all, and why a higher percentage of women who have heart attacks die within the year.
Know and understand the less-known symptoms of heart attacks
- 48% of women report sleep disturbances prior to their heart attack.
- 70% of women feel unusually fatigued days or even weeks prior to an attack.
- Gradual or sudden pain in the back, neck or jaw is often experienced instead of a sudden chest pain.
- Abdominal swelling can be caused by heart failure, and yet women may experience it as nausea, poor appetite, or indigestion.
- Sweating, coughing and light-headedness are all symptoms of flu, but when experienced in conjunction with the above symptoms, should be checked with a doctor.
- Anxiety is a common emotion in your busy life, but an unshakeable feeling of impending doom could point to something more serious, especially in the presence of cardiovascular risk factors and symptoms 1-5.