Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. It’s a dangerous condition that affects both men and women. But, women often don’t even know they have heart disease because they ignore or overlook the symptoms. The early signs of heart disease in women are different from the early signs of heart disease in men. However, they are just as serious, and every woman should know what symptoms to look for.
One common symptom is an upset stomach. It’s often written off as a simple stomach bug or a reaction to bad food. But, unexplained nausea or vomiting could be a sign of a heart attack.
Dizziness and Light-Headedness
Light-headedness and dizziness are also common symptoms. These symptoms can not only be mistaken for other conditions, but they can also be mistaken for the cause of the sister symptom of nausea and vomiting.
Sweating can occur for a myriad of reasons, from heat to stress. But, sweat that seems to have no cause can be another symptom of heart disease and an impending heart attack. If you’re sweating like you’ve just run a marathon while you’re sitting on your couch, you may have a life-threatening problem.
Fatigue and Shortness of Breath
Other feelings that would be associated with running a marathon, like shortness of breath and fatigue, can also be signs of heart disease in women. Watching TV shouldn’t make your lungs burn like heavy exercise would. And getting up to get a glass of water is nowhere near enough activity to make you feel fatigued. Either of these signs are serious indicators that something is very wrong.
Pain or Discomfort
When men have heart attacks, they often experience sharp chest pains. Women can also experience this, but they’re more likely to have subtle aches in several different areas of the body. Pain or discomfort may be felt in the jaw, neck, shoulder, back, or underarm areas. This pain isn’t as intense as the sharp pain men often describe, but it’s every bit as serious.
Many of the early signs of heart disease in women are subtle. They’re easily overlooked, leading many women to not seek treatment until after major damage has already been done to the cardiovascular system. Women should be on the lookout for these signs and have any issues checked out, even if they seem minor. In addition, a healthy diet and proper exercise can help prevent heart disease from occurring in the first place.