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Symptoms of Heart Attack: Are They Different Between Men and Women?

While heart disease is the leading cause of death for both genders, the symptoms that occur before and during a heart attack are often harder to detect in women. Learning the signs of a heart attack can help you identify it quickly so your aging loved one receives prompt treatment. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. Orlando families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

Common Heart Attack Symptoms

Chest pain and shortness of breath are the most common symptoms of heart attack for both men and women, but chest pain is less common in women. Other common symptoms that affect both genders include:

  • Profuse sweating with cold sweats and no apparent cause.

  • Shortness of breath, either alone or accompanied by chest pain.

  • Pain in the shoulder, neck, jaw, or arm, with arm pain usually occurring on the right side. Some people have pain in the left or both arms.

Men and women have similar heart attack symptoms, but chest pain that spreads down the arm is usually present in men. Women often have milder symptoms that are easier to dismiss or misdiagnose such as stomach discomfort accompanied by vomiting, which may be diagnosed as a gastrointestinal illness. Learning the symptoms women experience during a heart attack is one of the best ways to prevent misdiagnosis.

Reduced blood flow due to heart disease may affect brain function and amplify the risk of dementia. A dementia diagnosis can be difficult for seniors and their families to face. If you need help caring for your aging loved one while he or she manages the challenges of dementia, turn to Home Care Assistance of Altamonte Springs. Dementia care isn’t the only thing we specialize in. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers are also trained to assist seniors during stroke recovery and help those living with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s maintain a higher quality of life.

Identifying Heart Attack Symptoms in Women

Mild symptoms of heart attack experienced by women include nausea with or without vomiting, general anxiety, and dizziness. Early warning signs such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and anxiety can begin weeks or months before a heart attack. If your aging loved one has any of these symptoms, share your concerns with a licensed medical professional to rule out heart disease.

Identifying Heart-Related Pain

During a heart attack, women can have shortness of breath with or without chest pain, or feel pressure in the chest or back that causes discomfort instead of pain. Weakness or aching in one or both arms, indigestion, and heart palpitations are common in women. Other symptoms may include the following:

  • Pain in the shoulder, neck or jaw, which may radiate down the arm

  • Tightness or pressure between the shoulder blades

  • Feeling flushed or warmer than usual

  • Unexplained vision changes

  • Tiredness that increases with minor activities like walking to a different room

Timing and Effects

Men usually notice the first signs of a heart attack when awake, and women are more likely to have a heart attack while sleeping. The risk of heart disease increases with age for both genders, but the risk increases at the age of 66 for men and the age of 70 for women. Early warning symptoms are usually present in both genders, but learning to identify all the symptoms that could indicate a heart attack is recommended because the signs can vary.

According to the latest research, heart disease and Alzheimer’s share a genetic link. Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors to manage without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who do not have experience in providing Alzheimer’s care. For trusted Windermere Alzheimer’s home care, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method was designed to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives. Call one of our Care Managers at (407) 232-7155 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about our in-home care services.