Heart attack symptoms vary between men and women. In either gender, chest discomfort can come and go. It can appear quickly or slowly. Symptoms can last a long time or come and go quickly. It is important to know that no two heart attacks are the same. According to doctors, the most common symptoms reported by men having a heart attack include the following:
Some of the less common symptoms include:
• Discomfort in the abdomen that resembles heart burn
• Shortness of breath
• Pain or discomfort in the arms or one arm or in the back, jaw, neck or stomach
In men, the symptoms can come on fast or slow. These symptoms can come and go or last for a few minutes or longer. Men are more likely than women are to experience severe chest pains and pain in the left arm.
Women are less likely to have typical heart attack symptoms. In women over the age of 40, the following symptoms may be a sign of a heart attack:
• Flu-like symptoms including chills, sweating, nausea and fatigue
• Shortness of breath
• Pain in the upper abdomen, jaw, arm or back
• Squeezing pain in the chest
Similar to men, the most commonly seen symptom of a heart attack in women is discomfort or pain in the chest. One of the primary differences in the two genders is that women are more likely to experience many of the other common symptoms including nausea and vomiting, jaw or back pain and shortness of breath.
Heart Attack Symptoms Commonly Ignored
1. Nausea and indigestion
2. Neck, ear, jaw and shoulder pain
3. Sexual dysfunction, especially in men can be a sign of coronary artery disease
4. Fatigue or exhaustion
5. Dizziness and breathlessness
6. Leg pain or swelling in the legs
7. Anxiety, insomnia and sleeplessness
8. Flu-like symptoms including cold, clammy skin, light-headedness and fatigue
9. Rapid heart rate
10. Not feeling like yourself, general malaise
Surviving a Heart Attack
Knowing what to do when having a heart can literally save your life. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to know the typical symptoms of a heart attack. These symptoms vary between men and women as outlined above. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call an ambulance immediately.
Your life will depend on getting immediate medical attention if you are, indeed having a heart attack. Many people do not call for an ambulance when they should because they are concerned with being wrong and wasting the doctor or paramedics time. Do not be worried about it, they will understand. More often than not, many patients wait too long, because they believe that they are wrong about having a heart attack. They believe that their symptoms will simply go away.
If it is appropriate, take either nitroglycerin or plain aspirin. Chew the medication, do not swallow it whole as it will be absorbed into the bloodstream more quickly when chewed. Remain calm and composed.
While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, take the following measure to remain conscious.
Cough repeatedly and vigorously. Take a deep breath before you cough and cough deep and prolonged, much like the way you would if you had phlegm deep in your chest. Repeat this deep breath and cough every two seconds until help arrives. These deep breaths will help move oxygen through the lungs while the coughing movement squeezes the heart and helps keep the blood circulating.
If you are alone, do not try to drive yourself to the hospital. You may lose consciousness while driving. If it will take the ambulance too long to get to you, find a friend or family member who can drive you to the closest hospital. Do what you can to remain calm while you wait for the emergency responders to arrive. Do whatever you must do, with the exception of driving, to seek medical attention right away.
If you are in your vehicle at the onset of symptoms, call 9-1-1 from your cell phone and wait in your vehicle. If you do not have a cell phone, wave down help and tell the person, you think you are having a heart attack. Ask them to get you help or to take you to the nearest hospital. If they call for an ambulance, wait in your car for emergency personnel to arrive.