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Dr Nighat reveals heart attacks symptoms in women

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Contrary to popular opinion, the beginnings of a heart attack often arrive with a whimper not a bang. People just don’t pay attention. A survey of more than 500 women, published in the journal Circulation, identified a range of pernicious warning signs a month before the event.

In the survey of more than 500 women who survived heart attacks, erythromycin pediatric dose 95 percent of them said they noticed that something wasn’t right in the month or so before their heart attacks.

Two most common early warning signs were fatigue (71 percent) and disturbed sleep (48 percent).

Some women, for example, said they were so tired they couldn’t make a bed without resting.

Chest pain, a common early warning sign of heart trouble for men, was further down the list for these women.

Those who did have it tended to describe it as pressure, aching, or tightness in the chest, not pain.

Even when their heart attacks were under way, only about one-third of the women in this study experienced the “classic” symptom of chest pain.

Instead, shortness of breath, weakness and fatigue, a clammy sweat, dizziness, and nausea topped the list.

All in, the top 12 symptoms women reported experiencing the month before included:

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Shortness of breath
  • Indigestion
  • Anxiety
  • Heart racing
  • Arms weak/heavy
  • Changes in thinking or memory
  • Vision change
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hands/arms tingling
  • Difficulty breathing at night.

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The take-home message? Some women may get an early warning of an impending heart attack in the form of excessive tiredness, disturbed sleep, or shortness of breath.

Paying attention to these symptoms and getting prompt diagnosis and treatment just might thwart a full-blown heart attack.

Some men also have early warning signals, with chest pain being the most common.

But women and men usually experience the same heart attack symptoms, says the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

But research shows women tend to not recognise the symptoms as a sign of a heart attack as quickly.

In the UK, an average of three women die of coronary heart disease every hour, many of them due to a heart attack.

How to respond

You dramatically reduce your chance of survival if you don’t call 999 straight away.

“If you delay, you are more likely to suffer serious heart damage and more likely to need intensive care and to spend longer in hospital,” warns the BHF.

The NHS says: “If you have had a heart attack, it’s important that you rest while you wait for an ambulance, to avoid unnecessary strain on your heart.

“If aspirin is available and you are not allergic to it, slowly chew and then swallow an adult-size tablet (300mg) while you wait for the ambulance.”

Aspirin helps to thin your blood and improve blood flow to your heart.

Remember: the faster you act, the better your chances.

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