Signs of heart attack in women over 50

Heart attack is one of the major causes of mortality in women over 50 years of age. It may also be noted that women take a longer time than men to identify and seek treatment for heart attacks and other cardiac conditions. Listed below are signs of heart attack in women over 50 which will help in prompt diagnosis and timely treatment.

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Signs and symptoms

The symptoms of a heart attack differ as per gender. A heart attack in both men and women is usually accompanied by breathlessness and chest pain. Women over 50 may also suffer from the below listed signs of a heart attack:

  • Pain in chest: Women affected by a heart attack often do not elicit intense chest pain. They may experience mild tightness or pressure in the chest. They may also elicit discomfort or burning or squeezing sensations in the chest.
  • Breathing problems: Affected women may experience sudden instances of breathlessness.
  • Pain in the arms: Women over 50 who suffer from heart attack are most likely to experience pain in the arms. The pain will develop in the left part of chest and then migrate to the arms, the shoulder blades, neck, and back. Pain in jaw, shoulders, and the right arm may also be observed.
  • Fatigue: Fatigue or lethargy may also occur without any known underlying cause. Such fatigue may commence many days or even weeks before the cardiac arrest.
  • Increased perspiration: Heart attack patients may also sweat excessively for no apparent reason. This symptom is usually experienced in addition to the above listed signs.

Other signs of heart attack in women over 50 are as follows:

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  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heartburn
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
  • Lethargy
  • Coughing
  • Indigestion
  • Chills

Causes

  • Heart attacks in both women and men are generally caused due to obesity, hypertension, and excessive cholesterols levels.
  • Low estrogen levels after menopause can also increase the risk towards conditions of the smaller cardiovascular vessels
  • Depression and stress will usually cause adverse cardiac abnormalities in more women than men. Depression can pose problems in following the recommended remedies or in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • Metabolic syndrome, alcoholism, smoking, diabetes, and low levels of physical activities also contribute towards development of a heart attack in more women over 50, than men.
  • Women with a family history of cardiac disorders are also at greater risk to heart attacks.

Treatment and prevention

  • A heart attack is an emergency situation. After diagnosis, a doctor may treat the underlying cardiac condition via stenting, drug therapies, or angioplasty.
  • As women over 50 are at greater risk to heart attacks and other cardiac abnormalities, they should go for regular medical checkups
  • A healthy diet that consists of fresh vegetables and fruits, seeds, and nuts; lifestyle changes such as limiting the intake of alcohol and quitting smoking; and intake of prescription hormone medications will also help prevent heart attacks.
  • Women over 50 should also maintain a healthy weight and hence exercise at least five days a week. Walking, jogging, swimming, and aerobic exercises are recommended. 
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