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Heart Attack Symptoms in Women Over 50

Heart Attack Symptoms in Women Over 50

Symptoms of heart attack in women are atypical, and hence, identifying them is difficult. However, here is a list of possible symptoms that can be observed in women suffering from heart attack.
Madhura Pandit
Last Updated: Feb 14, 2018
Heart diseases are the major causes of mortality in men and women over 50 years of age. Men and women are at an equal risk of suffering from heart attack. It is essential to be aware of its identifying signs and symptoms, in order to get the condition diagnosed and treated quickly.

Heart Attack in Women
It should be noted that the symptoms of heart attack vary according to gender. We all are aware of its classic symptoms like chest pain and breathlessness. The following classic symptoms can be observed in women, when suffering from heart attack.

Common Symptoms
  • Chest Pain: Women usually do not experience severe chest pain. They may have a feeling of tightness in the chest. A squeezing sensation or discomfort in the chest is experienced by women.
  • Difficulty in Breathing: Breathlessness or shortness of breath is another symptom that is usually observed. Women may experience difficulty in breathing for no noticeable reason.
  • Pain in Arms: This is one of the most common heart attack symptoms in women. Pain originates on the left side of the chest, and spreads to shoulder blades, arms, back, and neck. Pain may even be experienced in shoulders, jaw, and in the right arm.
  • Excessive sweating: People suffering from heart attack sweat profusely. This symptom is usually accompanied with other symptoms mentioned above.
  • Fatigue: If women experience excessive exhaustion and fatigue due to unexplained reasons, there may be chances of a heart attack.
Peculiarly, chest pain, as a symptom of heart disease, may not always be experienced by women. The following are the other signs of heart attack in women over 50 years of age. These symptoms accompany the aforementioned ones.

Other Notable Symptoms
  • Abnormal heartbeats
  • Anxiety
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Exhaustion
  • Dizziness
  • Indigestion
  • Cough
  • Chills
Now, it may seem difficult to relate these symptoms to heart attack and look for immediate treatment. But, women should note that any of the aforementioned symptoms, if observed for unexplained reasons, should be bought to the doctor's notice immediately.

Risk in Younger Women
Although it is believed that heart attack is observed only in older women, i.e., above 50 years of age; recent studies have concluded that it can also be found in younger women. Therefore, the aforementioned symptoms are not limited to older women. Diabetes, stress, and hypertension are considered as dominant causes of heart attack in younger women.

Facts About Heart Attack

Heart attack is the number one cause of death in older women in several parts of the world.

Statistics show that, lower number of women are found to survive a heart attack as compared to men; although there is no scientific reason supporting this observation.

Women are slower to identify and respond to the symptoms of heart attack. Hence, they waste a lot of time in seeking help and treatment.

It is a common misconception among women that symptoms of heart attack are like those shown in movies (chest pain, eyes popping out, falling, etc.). However, as aforementioned, many women do not experience these classic symptoms at all.

It is a universal misconception that only older people (and only men) suffer from heart attack. But, note that young, skinny women are also prone to heart diseases (usually due to stress, cigarette smoking, family history, hypertension).

Symptoms of heart attack and heartburn are often confused with each other. It is wise to have a thorough knowledge of both these conditions.

Risk Factors

Obesity and high levels of cholesterol are the major causes of heart attack in men and women. On the other hand, smoking, alcoholism, high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), stress, diabetes, lack of physical activity, and heredity, etc., are other significant factors leading to heart diseases.

Preventive Measures

➝ Obesity and high levels of cholesterol can be controlled by making healthy changes in your diet and lifestyle. It is essential to maintain a healthy body weight.

➝ You should have a healthy diet consisting of fresh food like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Avoid eating fatty and high cholesterol-containing food.

➝ Exercising regularly for 20-30 minutes has proven to lower the risk of heart attack. You can undertake physical activity in any form daily to stay healthy and fit.

➝ You can reduce stress by using different techniques and relaxation methods.

➝ You should stop smoking and consuming alcohol in excess. Living an active and healthy lifestyle can prevent the onset of heart diseases.

➝ Medications, specially those containing hormones, should be taken only on consulting the doctor.

➝ Lastly, note that a regular medical checkup is essential after the age of 50.

If a woman experiences any of these symptoms, she should immediately call for emergency treatment. Remember that it is essential to maintain proper heart health by following the aforementioned measures. Having knowledge about the symptoms can help in quicker access to treatment, which in turn, increases chances of survival. Take care!

Disclaimer: This information is meant for educational purposes only. It is not to be substituted for proper medical advice and consultation.