Heart attack in women 8 symptoms and risk factors

An early warning of myocardial infarction is a recurring chest pain that occurs during physical exertion and goes away at rest (exertional angina). Angina pectoris occurs as a result of a temporary decrease in the blood supply to the heart in conditions of increased oxygen demand. We spoke in detail about the characteristic symptoms of angina pectoris here.

People confuse the concept of a heart attack with a condition where the heart stops suddenly (sudden cardiac arrest). Sudden cardiac death develops as a result of electrical dysfunction in the heart, which disrupts pumping function and leads to circulatory arrest throughout the body. Myocardial infarction is a common but not the only cause of cardiac arrest.

Recent medical research, in particular by scientists at Harvard University, has identified symptoms that occur about a month before a heart attack. Consult a cardiologist in cases where the following conditions are detected:

  • Excessive fatigue is not usual after a working day or household chores, but a complete lack of strength to perform simple actions (go to the store, climb the stairs). Fatigue does not go away even after a full sleep. Often, women note that the usual load (for example, a bag or a light bag of groceries) is felt harder. Many patients report more severe weakness, numbness or goosebumps on the fingers of their left hands.
  • Mild chest pains can migrate (either stabbing under the chest on the left, then crushing behind the sternum). In the best case, a woman takes Corvalol, Corsiz or drops of valerian. However, these drugs have a calming effect, but do not improve myocardial blood supply.
  • Shortness of breath occurs with minor physical exertion and sometimes at rest. When climbing stairs, a woman has to stop to catch her breath.
  • In the morning and during the day, dizziness occurs, up to staggering and the need to sit down. In this case, the body becomes covered with cold sweat, the skin turns pale.
  • Edema – women, especially lovers of high heels, note that swelling on the legs became stronger, do not disappear even after sleep. Often swollen hands (it is impossible to remove the ring from the finger), face (swollen eyes in the morning).
  • Flu state – many recall the fact that shortly before a heart attack they experienced a condition like the flu (fever, body aches, runny nose and cough).

The first symptoms of an impending heart attack indicate oxygen starvation of the myocardium and a decrease in contractility. Without medical intervention, acute ischemia eventually develops – a heart attack.

Important! With such symptoms, a microinfarction can occur. Myocardial necrosis is often diagnosed later during an ECG. Transferred “on foot” a microinfarction is dangerous with a high risk of developing a massive heart attack in the future.

What to do

Many people who survived a heart attack complain about the callousness of those around them: a person who has fallen on the street is often mistaken for a drunk and shy away. Meanwhile, time is running out, and the chances of survival are getting smaller. First aid for a heart attack:

  • Raise the patient’s head (if dropped), unfasten the upper buttons, loosen the belt. Open the windows in the room.
  • Urgently call an ambulance. If the patient is in a crowded place, shout to find a doctor or nurse. Their help will be needed for massage during cardiac arrest.
  • Urgently put the patient under the tongue Nitroglycerin. Before the arrival of an ambulance, if the pain persists, you can give up to 3 tablets. with an interval of 5 minutes The fastest effect is given by sprays with nitroglycerin – Nitrospray. Nitroglycerin lowers blood pressure! In order to avoid cardiogenic shock, its intake should be limited if the upper a / d is below 100.
  • In the best case, give the patient Aspirin in a dose of 300-500 mg (1/2 or a whole tablet). The patient must chew her! The use of Aspirin in the first 30 minutes from the onset of an attack will prevent a blood clot and increase the chances of survival. An ambulance doctor should be notified about taking Aspirin.
  • If there is a tonometer, pressure should be measured before the ambulance arrives.

Important! In case of a heart attack, you should by any means attract attention and ask for help. If the attack happened on the road, you need to stop the car on the side of the road, turn on the headlights or press the horn.

The technique of deep coughing with a heart attack – inhaling deeply and coughing before sputum discharge – is widespread on the Internet. However, in the authoritative journal Journal of General Hospital Rochester, in which the article was allegedly published for the first time, it is not and never was!

The effectiveness of this method is also not confirmed by the Association of US Cardiologists. From a medical point of view, a deep cough can help with arrhythmia, but it will only aggravate the condition with myocardial infarction, when any load is not desirable. You cannot cough with a heart attack!

An old remedy – a hot water bottle – at best, aggravate the patient’s condition. Heat will provoke the spread of a necrotic focus and increase the area of ​​a heart attack.

Antiarrhythmics and adrenergic blockers (Rizoprol, Verapamil, etc.) should be taken if they have been prescribed by a doctor earlier (with a history of arrhythmia) or the patient has a frequent pulse. Self-administration of these drugs is not desirable.

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If you have a heart attack, it’s important not to waste precious time. In many cases, the timely provision of qualified medical care can save a person’s life! You should not be afraid of the reproaches of an ambulance doctor who arrived regarding the diagnosis of a heart attack. Human life is much more expensive, and what kind of attack happened will be sorted out in the hospital.

Symptoms of a heart attack in women in 60% of cases are fatal. Such disappointing figures are largely due to the failure or delay of proper medical care. The most unfavorable prognosis is pulmonary thrombosis and aortic dissection. With thrombembolism, death occurs in a matter of minutes, usually before the arrival of an ambulance. Aortic dissection in 90% of cases leads to death even with timely assistance.

To minimize the risk of a heart attack, no matter how trite it sounds, you should lead a healthy lifestyle. However, even the absence of bad habits (smoking, alcohol), good nutrition and sports does not guarantee complete protection against heart disease. Constant companions of modern life – stress, excessive stress – make the heart work at the limit of its capabilities, which sooner or later leads to the inability to fully cope with the load.

Take care of your heart, take care of your nerves and remember: experiences, achievements, failures – “everything passes”. “If a problem can be solved, it’s worth looking for a solution. If the problem is insoluble, then there is no point in worrying. ” And the last – visit your doctor regularly and get tested. After all, it is easier to correct minor disorders than to treat a developed heart disease.

Tags: heart attack

First of all, you need to be more attentive to the signals of your body and, when the precursors of the disease appear, consult a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. If you suspect an aggravation of the condition, call an ambulance immediately. Even if the alarm was false, there would not be much harm from it, and in the event of a real heart attack, the patient should immediately be sent to the hospital, where the cardiologist has only a few minutes to open the artery and provide help, preventing serious consequences.

First aid

Timely urgent actions in case of a heart attack may be decisive in the patient’s life:

  • Calling an ambulance is the first thing you need to do immediately.
  • Lay the sick person with his head up.
  • To unfasten a belt, a collar, to weaken a tie that will help to remove asphyxiation.
  • Provide air access to the room.
  • Give an aspirin tablet if it is not contraindicated, and nitroglycerin under the tongue (in total, take no more than three tablets if the pain does not subside).
  • When severe weakness occurs, raise your legs to a level above your head, give water to drink and do not give nitroglycerin.
  • You can put mustard on the chest.
  • Do not leave the patient until the doctor arrives.
  • The doctor must show all the medications taken.

It’s never too late to start a healthy lifestyle: quit smoking, start eating right, do sports. These are the primary goals aimed at preventing myocardial infarction.

How to relieve a heart attack at home

It is important to know what to do with a heart attack, being alone, without drugs. After a doctor’s call, quickly, without panic, exhale fully, then begin to cough violently and many times. Repeat a deep breath with a cough on the exhale, and so with intensity every 2 seconds, until the doctor arrives. These respiratory actions during an attack compensate the heart for a lack of oxygen, restoring its rhythm.

Receiving Prescriptions

If you have a myocardial infarction, then it is usually diagnosed by emergency doctors, less often when you visit a doctor. After suffering a heart attack, it is recommended to take care of yourself and be attentive to your health: early post-infarction angina pectoris leads to repeated heart attacks.

If you are interested in reducing the risks of developing myocardial infarction, consult your cardiologist about risk factors and ways to prevent myocardial infarction.

Since the doctor’s prescriptions are concise and not always clear, it’s a good idea to prepare for a cardiologist’s consultation. Below is information that will help you prepare to receive a doctor’s prescription.


In the majority, after suffering an attack, changes of both physiological and psychological type are observed:

  • heart rhythm disturbance, angina pectoris;
  • negative psycho-emotional mood;
  • decreased performance.

Serious complications, a threat to life for a person after an illness are:

  • heart failure;
  • vascular thrombosis;
  • aneurysm;
  • pericarditis;
  • pulmonary edema;
  • ischemic stroke.

When to see a doctor

  • Record any symptoms that you experience, including those that seem unlike symptoms associated with heart disease.
  • Record personal information that includes a history of vascular and heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, or diabetes in the family; stressful situations or changes in lifestyle.
  • Make a list of all the medications, including vitamins and supplements you are taking.
  • Ask your family members or friends if they remember any information that indicates heart disease.
  • Be prepared to discuss your diet and lifestyle. If you do not follow a diet and do not exercise regularly, be prepared to receive instructions from your doctor about lifestyle changes that you should begin with during treatment.
  • Write down the questions you want to ask the doctor.

The British Heart Foundation recommends that all women over 40 undergo regular medical examinations. This helps to identify risk factors early on so that they can be eliminated. Early intervention reduces the likelihood of developing heart disease.

Anyone who notices the warning signs of a heart attack, such as the following, should consult a doctor immediately:

  • unusual tiredness
  • labored breathing
  • upper body pain

Your doctor will look for symptoms, check your blood pressure and heart rate, and you can also order blood tests or use an electrocardiogram (ECG) to check your heart’s electrical activity.


An active way of life is the main recipe for the prevention of all diseases, and a heart attack, myocardial infarction is no exception. In addition to playing sports, you need proper low-fat food, a lot of fruits and vegetables, reducing the intake of salt and carbohydrates, quitting smoking and alcohol, playing sports. After 50 years, you will need to constantly monitor blood pressure, monitor the level of sugar and cholesterol in the blood, pay attention to the weather – heat and magnetic storms are dangerous for the heart to work. It is important to be in a positive mood, avoiding sources of stress.

What to expect from a doctor?

The doctor will ask questions – be prepared to answer them. At the reception of a cardiologist you will be asked:

  • When did you first feel symptoms that seemed suspicious of heart disease, such as chest pain (angina pectoris) or shortness of breath?
  • Are the symptoms long lasting or sudden?
  • How serious are your symptoms?
  • What helps resolve these symptoms? If chest pain occurs, does it go away at rest?
  • What aggravates or provokes symptoms? If chest pain occurs, physical activity makes it stronger, contributes to its continuation?
  • Have you had any heart disease in your family?
  • Have you been diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes?


It is important for those who have suffered a heart attack to be aware of:

  • A damaged heart muscle is capable of healing.
  • The patient’s return to a normal lifestyle after an attack is real with time.
  • The resulting angina is treated.
  • No need to despair, endure an attack – not yet an invalid sentence, you just need to start paying increased attention to the heart and the whole body.

More than half of people return to their jobs after a rehabilitation period. Recovery can last up to six months, starting back in the hospital with gradual physical actions. It is necessary to load yourself gradually: walking around the room, then go to the stairs. Only a doctor can recommend the exact dosage of activity; initiative and haste are not needed here. Patient is required and more positive.

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Tatyana Jakowenko

Editor-in-chief of the Detonic online magazine, cardiologist Yakovenko-Plahotnaya Tatyana. Author of more than 950 scientific articles, including in foreign medical journals. He has been working as a cardiologist in a clinical hospital for over 12 years. He owns modern methods of diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and implements them in his professional activities. For example, it uses methods of resuscitation of the heart, decoding of ECG, functional tests, cyclic ergometry and knows echocardiography very well.

For 10 years, she has been an active participant in numerous medical symposia and workshops for doctors - families, therapists and cardiologists. He has many publications on a healthy lifestyle, diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular diseases.

He regularly monitors new publications of European and American cardiology journals, writes scientific articles, prepares reports at scientific conferences and participates in European cardiology congresses.