Sometimes the onset of a heart attack can make itself known. Many people have experienced a tightening in their chest or a deep internal pain, and they usually end up collapsing and gasping for breath. Or at least that’s how it’s depicted in the movies. However, signs and symptoms of an oncoming heart attack don’t always make themselves known, especially in women.
Chest pain is the most common symptom associated with heart attacks, but it’s not the only one. Many of the other symptoms you may not even notice or may just write off as something else. Heart attacks occur when the blood that delivers oxygen to your heart is reduced or cut off, caused by a build-up of plaque. Read on to learn about the very subtle signs of a heart attack for women.
1. Burning or aching feelings
It’s especially common to have burning, aching, or tingling feelings along your back, shoulder blades, or arms—pretty much everywhere except your chest. Many women might write this off as a muscle strain or pull.
2. Nausea/Indigestion/Heartburn/Stomach Pain
Of course, it should go without saying that any type of stomach pain or chest discomfort can be caused by other things, such as eating too much or eating too many acidic foods. But definitely keep this in mind if you’re ever feeling that it might be something different. Women are also more likely to experience this symptom rather than men.
3. Throat or jaw pain
Pain or pressure that begins in the center of your chest and travels up to your throat and jaw can be a sign of an oncoming heart attack.
4. Excessive snoring
While it’s completely normal to snore a little while you sleep (even if you don’t usually snore) excessive snoring accompanied by gasping or choking mid-sleep can be a sign of sleep apnea. This, in turn, puts a large strain on your heart.
5. An ongoing cough
Typically, an ongoing cough is no concern, but if you have a history of heart disease in your family, you should pay close attention to random outbursts of chronic coughing. If you have a long-lasting cough that produces a white or pink mucus, it may possibly be a sign of heart failure.
6. Swollen legs/feet/ankles
If you find that your legs, feet, or ankles are swollen, it could be a sign that the blood isn’t pumping as effectively as it should be. When the heart cannot pump effectively, it backs up into the veins and causes extra swelling. Heart failure additionally makes it more difficult for the kidneys to remove the extra water in the system, causing even more swelling.
7. Irregular heartbeat
If you feel as though your heart is skipping beats frequently, seek medical attention immediately. It could be a sign of atrial fibrillation, which requires treatment.
8. Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
Feeling dizzy or lightheaded, accompanied by a sudden chest discomfort, can be the #1 sign of an oncoming heart attack. This is the time to call 911 immediately.
Please remember that if heart disease runs in your family, it’s best to always keep an extra eye on your heart health as you age. No matter what age or gender you are, anyone can be susceptible to heart attacks, and it’s important to know all the signs and symptoms to receive timely medical care!
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This story originally appeared at Do You Remember by Jane Kenney.
Do You Remember creates compelling, fun, and highly engaging content intended to give readers a break from the stresses of daily life. Our goal is to allow our readers to reminisce, share memories and, most importantly, get nostalgic!