Heart attack in women: You should know these symptoms!Classic chest pain is often not as pronounced in women – many sufferers therefore misjudge the situation.
The heart attack is considered a typical male disease. This is why women, and also their treating physicians, often recognize the danger much later – also because their symptoms are less clear-cut than those of men. Read here what you should definitely pay attention to.
Women often suffer a heart attack only at an older age
A heart attack actually affects men more often than women. Nevertheless, heart attack is one of the most common causes of death in women as well. Every year, more than 20,000 women die of heart attacks in Germany – and not only that: they also have a poorer chance of recovery after a heart attack than men, as studies and statistics show. Statistically, however, the disease occurs later in women: only ten years after menopause. The big problem: If women suffer a heart attack, they often do not act fast enough. For example, a study sponsored by the Heart Foundation and conducted by the German Center for Cardiovascular Research in collaboration with Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen and Technische Universitat Munchen showed that women over 65 with symptoms of a heart attack take an average of more than four and a half hours to get to the emergency room – for men of the same age, it takes only three and a half hours. Take complaints seriously. Also think about a heart attack!
In the event of a heart attack, every minute is a matter of life or death. But women in particular often do not take their symptoms seriously, suppress them or only speak out loudly about their complaints when asked. Often they say: I don't want to be a bother! But exactly this is a big mistake. Especially at an advanced age, women should always be aware of the risk of a heart attack – even if the symptoms are unspecific and cause doubts. But even younger women should not suppress the possibility of a heart attack. According to studies, they tend not to take complaints seriously enough. For them, work commitments or looking after the children often come first. As a general rule, it is better to dial 911 once too often than once too little! As a small guideline, you can remember that you should get help immediately if the symptoms occur to an unprecedented extent.
Why does a heart attack often occur in women after menopause?
Women benefit from a protective effect of female sex hormones (estrogens) prior to menopause. They not only regulate the menstrual cycle and pregnancy, but are also involved in various metabolic processes. They influence inflammatory reactions and blood clotting, and they have a dilating effect on the blood vessels. In this way, estrogens can protect against the formation of arteriosclerotic deposits in the vessels and prevent coronary heart disease. After menopause, however, hormone protection wears off: The risk of suffering a heart attack then increases more rapidly in women than in men.
How women recognize a heart attack in time
Especially in older women, heart attack symptoms are less characteristic. For example, the typical severe chest pain, which can also radiate to various parts of the body, is sometimes less noticeable in them than in men. Women are more likely to report a feeling of prere or tightness in the chest. Other symptoms of a heart attack may be present in women:
– Shortness of breath / shortness of breath – Sweating – Back pain – Nausea – Vomiting – Pain in the upper abdomen – Pulling in the arms – Unexplained tiredness – Depression
Many of these complaints lead women to first think of a harmless stomach upset. In addition, older women often live alone and have no one to call for help in an emergency. They are also often more reserved. Do not want to be a burden on their fellow human beings.