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This Surprising Symptom of a Heart Attack in Women Should Not Be Ignored

What comes to mind when you picture someone having a heart attack? You're probably inclined to imagine them doubled over with severe chest pain. While this may be one of the symptoms of a heart attack (alongside many others - these symptoms will help you recognize a heart attack months in advance), symptoms of a heart attack in women can actually be a lot more subtle than they are in men.

 

The Facts: The American Heart Association found that with regard to heart attacks, women are being under-treated. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, statistics show that 50,000 women died from a heart attack in 2014. It is also estimated that around 735,000 Americans have heart attacks each year.

heart attack

So how do heart attack symptoms in women differ from men? A woman may experience pressure or pain in the center of her chest, but while having a heart attack, she may also experience jaw pain. Other symptoms specific to women include upper back pain, arm pain, an overwhelming sense of fatigue, heartburn, or a sense of not feeling right. But how can jaw pain relate to symptoms of a heart attack? According to the American Heart Association, if the heart does not give out a good signal, pain can radiate to the jaw, neck or back. However, it is still unclear why jaw pain and upper body discomfort manifest as symptoms in women and not men.

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Another question that needs answering is why women aren't getting the treatment they need. The AHA have reported that women generally wait around 54 hours before visiting a doctor, while men wait about 16 hours. It may be because women are more passive about their health than men. It may also be because they have more barriers preventing them from doing so, such as having children to take care of.

However, waiting too long to seek treatment may also result in developing cardiogenic shock, meaning that your heart won't be able to pump enough blood. As a result, waiting too long could also mean that aggressive treatments may no longer be an option. Furthermore, women need to keep an eye out for recurrent symptoms. Statistics show that having another heart attack is actually higher among women than it is in men.

Stay informed! Share this post with the women that you know. Knowing the underlying symptoms of a heart attack might save their life.

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