Are You Overlooking the Signs of an Impending Heart Attack?

The National Institute of Health says that many of you can actually prevent an intending heart attack if you educate...

The National Institute of Health says that many of you can actually prevent an intending heart attack if you educate yourself about the early signs. As a matter of fact, the signs and symptoms of coronary heart disease(CHD) may differ between women and men. Some women who have CHD have no signs or symptoms. This is called silent CHD.

Silent CHD may not be diagnosed until a woman shows signs and symptoms of a heart attack, heart failure, or an arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). A common symptom of CHD is angina. Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when your heart muscle doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood.

In men, angina often feels like pressure or a squeezing pain in the chest. This feeling may extend to the arms. Women also can have these angina symptoms. But women also tend to describe a sharp, burning chest pain. Women also are more likely to have pain in the neck, jaw, throat, abdomen, or back.

In men, angina tends to get worse with physical activity and go away with rest. Women are more likely than men to have angina while they’re resting or sleeping.

In women who have coronary microvascular disease, angina often occurs during routine daily activities, such as shopping or cooking, rather than while exercising. Mental stress also is more likely to trigger angina pain in women than in men.

The severity of angina varies. The pain may get worse or occur more often as the buildup of plaque continues to narrow the coronary (heart) arteries.

Signs and Symptoms

The most common symptom of heart attack in men and women is chest pain or discomfort. However, only half of women who have heart attacks have chest pain.

Women are more likely to report back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea (feeling sick to the stomach), vomiting, extreme fatigue (tiredness), or problems breathing.

Heart attacks also can cause upper body discomfort in one or both arms, the jaw, or the stomach. Other symptoms of heart attack are lightheadedness and fainting, which occur more often in women than men.

Men who are having a heart attack are more likely to break out in a cold sweat and to report pain in their left arms than women.

Heart Failure

Heart failure is a condition in which your heart weakens and can’t pump enough blood throughout your body. Heart failure doesn’t mean that your heart has stopped or is about to stop working. It means that your heart can’t cope with the demands of everyday activities.

Heart failure causes shortness of breath and fatigue that tends to increase with activity. Heart failure also can cause swelling in your feet, ankles, legs, and abdomen.

Arrhythmia

An arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of your heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm.

Some people describe arrhythmias as fluttering or thumping feelings or skipped beats in their chests. These feelings are called palpitations.

Some arrhythmias can cause your heart to suddenly stop beating. This condition is called sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA causes loss of consciousness and death if it’s not treated right away.

Signs and Symptoms of Broken Heart Syndrome

The most common signs and symptoms of broken heart syndrome are chest pain and shortness of breath. In this syndrome, these symptoms tend to occur suddenly in people who have no history of heart disease.

Arrhythmias or cardiogenic shock also may occur. Cardiogenic shock is a state in which a weakened heart isn’t able to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.

Broken heart syndrome has several signs and symptoms that distinguish it from a heart attack:

Symptoms occur suddenly after having extreme emotional or physical stress.

The EKG (electrocardiogram) results for a person who has broken heart syndrome don’t look the same as the EKG results for a person having a heart attack. (An EKG is a test that records the heart’s electrical activity.)

Blood tests show no signs or mild signs of heart damage.

Tests show no signs of blockages in the coronary arteries.

Tests show unusual movement of the lower left heart chamber (left ventricle).

Recovery time is quick, usually within days to weeks (compared to the recovery time of a month or more for a heart attack).

Take the time to educate yourself about what to do to prevent a heart attack from occurring. Tell your friends, colleagues and loved ones to subscribe to this Blog. Perhaps, you might save their life without even knowing it.

Prosper in all ways!

Coach Lynn Johnson