Signs of a heart attack in women
“In my experience, in addition to coronary artery disease, women are also very susceptible to non-ischemic cardiomyopathy and atrial fibrillation. Hormonal changes in perimenopausal age due to syndrome X and obesity are few risk factors for heart disease in women. Symptoms such as shortness of breath during exertion and easy fatigability should not be ignored. It is advisable that women make lifestyle changes to include moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise, healthy eating practices higher in protein and fiber, adequate sleep, meditation/yoga to reduce stress, and tobacco/alcohol abstinence,” says Dr. Ajitkumar Jadhav, Interventional Cardiologist at Surya Mother & Child Superspeciality Hospital, Pune.
Why women can mistake the signs of a heart attack for the symptoms of menopause
“The signs of heart disease and a heart attack are different in men and women. Although the signs of a heart attack are similar to those of menopause, it’s important to understand the difference. This can be dangerous as time is of the essence to save a heart. A lack of awareness can lead to confusion and ignorance of all the symptoms of a heart attack, which can be life-threatening. Here are some of the symptoms of heart attack and menopause in women,” says Dr. Manmohan Singh Chauhan, HOD and Consultant – CTVS , Manipal Hospitals, Gurugram.
Symptoms of a heart attack in women
• Chest pain and discomfort
• Neck pain
• Indigestion and heartburn
• shortness of breath
• Dizziness and extreme tiredness
Symptoms of menopause in women
• Irregular periods
• Chills and night sweats
• Increased anxiety and restlessness
• chest pain
“Similar symptoms can easily be ignored when many hormonal changes are taking place in the body. It must be remembered that the risk of heart attack in postmenopausal women increases when the level of estrogen in the body decreases. This can lead to an increase in cholesterol levels, which leads to heart disease. Menopause symptoms can last a few months or even a decade. Therefore, none of the above signs should be taken lightly,” says Dr. Chauhan.
How women should take care of their hearts
“Women with a positive family history of heart disease should be screened by age 30. Risk factors such as smoking, lack of exercise and a high-fat/carbohydrate diet should be avoided. With menopause, the risk increases many times over in these women. Women with high blood pressure should monitor their blood sugar and blood pressure. Postmenopausal women without risk factors should have their heart health checked starting in their 40s. Older women should also monitor their blood pressure and keep it low Blood pressure is known as the silent killer because it doesn’t show any growing signs, instead it suddenly rises and causes stroke, heart attack and kidney failure,” concludes Dr. Chauhan.
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