Heart Attack Symptoms
Symptoms of Heart Attack
- Pressure or squeezing pain in the center of your chest that lasts for more than a few minutes
- Pain similar to that of angina but that is generally more severe, lasts longer, and doesn't respond to rest or angina medication
- Pain that extends beyond your chest to your shoulder, arm, back, or jaw (referred pain)
- Increasing episodes of chest pain
- Prolonged pain in the upper abdomen
- Shortness of breath
- Heavy pounding of heart
- Sense of impending doom
- Nausea and vomiting
CHD and heart attacks are erroneously believed to be primarily a men's disease. In fact, CHD is the leading of death and disability in women after menopause. A 50-year-old woman has a 31% risk of dying from CHD. By contrast, her risk of dying from breast cancer is only 3%.
Women are less likely to be diagnosed as having a heart attack than men. This is partly because women tend to seek medical care later than men, and partly because diagnosing women's symptoms can be more difficult than diagnosing men's:
- Women are less likely to have chest pain and more likely to have atypical symptoms, like pain elsewhere in the body, fatigue, or nausea.
- Silent heart attacks are more common in women.
- Chest pain unrelated to heart attack occurs more frequently in women.
- Women are more likely to have coronary artery problems that don't show up on angiograms.
- Women have a higher number of misleading "false positives" on noninvasive tests for CHD.
For all these reasons, women are less likely to be admitted to a coronary care unit and less likely to receive aggressive clot-dissolving therapy or coronary angioplasty than men.
Hormone Therapy and Heart Attack
In the past, menopausal hormone therapy was thought to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke for women with heart disease. But studies have shown that not only does long-term hormone therapy not lower the risk of heart disease, it actually increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. If you are considering hormone therapy for other reasons, like preventing osteoporosis or hot flashes, the current FDA recommendation for menopausal hormone therapy is that it should be used at the lowest dose for the shortest period of time to reach treatment goals. Consult with your doctor about what hormone therapy, if any, is right for you.
Understanding Heart Attacks (VIDEO)
Your Heart Needs Blood
Your Beating Heart
Atherosclerosis & Cholesterol
Angina & Coronary Heart Disease
Heart Attack Symptoms
What Is a Heart Attack?
Risk Factors & Diagnosis
Treating Heart Attacks
Restoring Blood Flow
Related Health Centers:
Aneurysm and Stent, Angioplasty, Arrhythmia, Cardiovascular Continuum, Cholesterol and Atherosclerosis, Coronary Bypass Surgery, Heart Attack and Angina, Hypertension, Stroke, Thrombosis and Embolism, Women and Cardiovascular Health