Health

Heart Attack: Women! Beware Of THESE Warning Signs That Can Appear A Month Before A Heart Attack

1. Why is heart attack concerning?

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it accounts for an estimated 17.9 million lives each year, of which more than four out of five deaths occur due to heart attacks and strokes.

Branded by the term ‘silent killer’, a heart attack can affect anyone, especially those who are aged 50 and above. However, there has been an increase in the number of heart attack cases among younger people, which has become extremely concerning.

2. How does a heart attack occur?

A heart attack signals the lack of nutrient-rich blood and oxygen in the heart. It occurs when an artery that sends blood and oxygen to the heart is blocked. Many factors can lead to heart attack including the build up of fatty, cholesterol-containing deposits in the heart’s arteries. When this fatty deposit or plaque ruptures, it forms a blood clot, which blocks the arteries, hindering the blood flow to different parts of the body, causing a heart attack.

3.Heart attack may be different for men and women

While a heart attack does not discriminate between genders, according to the American Heart Association, heart attacks in women may showcase a different range of symptoms than those in men.

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While chest pain and pressure is one the first signs that can occur in both men and women, the latter are more likely to report other symptoms including nausea, sweating, vomiting, pain in the neck, jaw, throat, abdomen or back or can also fall unconscious.

Men are more likely to develop shortness of breath, jaw and shoulder pain, nausea among others.

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Another reason why men and women experience different symptoms is because while men are more likely to suffer a build-up of plaque in their large arteries that supply blood to the heart, women tend to be more prone to a buildup in the heart’s smaller arteries. This therefore changes the course of symptoms in men vs. women.

4. Warning signs in women that appear in the month before an attack

According to a survey, published in the journal Circulation, that looked into the data of more than 500 women who had survived a heart attack, approximately 95 percent said they noticed unusual bodily changes in the months before the incident.

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The most common symptoms reported include tiredness and disturbed sleep.

Interestingly, it was also found that while the majority of men were likely to suffer chest pain during an event, women were more likely to experience shortness of breath.

5. Heart attack signs that must not be ignored by anyone

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends paying attention to your body and calling for emergency medical help if you experience symptoms including:

– Chest discomfort

– Upper body pain and discomfort. These could include areas such as one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

– Shortness of breath

– Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness

6. Can you prevent a heart attack?

Heart attacks are a direct or indirect outcome of unhealthy lifestyle habits including smoking, alcohol consumption, poor diet, lack of physical activity and more.

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Poor lifestyle choices often give rise to chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and other vascular issues that over time increase your risk of a heart attack.

That said, experts recommend eating more nutritious, less oily and fat-ridden foods, that contribute to the build up of fatty deposits in the heart’s arteries. Furthermore, regular exercise and physical activity can curb your risk greatly. Quit smoking and alcohol consumption to live a more wholesome life.

7. Make sure you get regular heart health screenings

The key to prevention is regular health check ups.

Regular heart health screenings can help you understand your risks and also introduce measures that can prevent life-threatening conditions like a heart attack or a stroke. These are silent killers that most often come with no warning signs, which is why they can be sudden and fatal.

In addition, keep a tab of your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose levels, and maintain a healthy weight and BMI. This will ensure that you are at a lower risk of heart disease.

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