How Heart Attack Signs Differ in Men & Women

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How Heart Attack Signs Differ in Men & Women

Last updated: Thursday, January 11, 2018 | 3 min reading time

What are heart attacks?

Heart attacks occur when blood cannot flow to the heart due to a blocked artery.

  • In Singapore, heart attack is the 2nd most common cause of death
  • Despite treatment, there is still a 10% mortality rate in patients with heart attack
  • Men are 3 – 5 times more likely than women to have coronary heart disease
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in Singapore

What are some common risk factors of heart attack?

  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure (high blood pressure is the leading cause of heart disease)
  • Diabetes mellitus (people with diabetes are 2 – 4 times more likely to develop coronary artery disease)
  • Obesity
  • Smoking (smokers have 2 – 3 times the risk of non-smokers for sudden cardiac death)
  • Stress
  • Age (on average, 80% of those who die of coronary heart disease are aged 65 and above)

How does it feel like to have a heart attack?

  • Mild pain or discomfort in your chest that may come and go – also called 'stuttering' chest pain
  • Pain in your upper back, shoulders, neck
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Breathlessness
  • Feeling of 'impending doom'
  • Severe anxiety or confusion

How do heart attack signs differ in men and women?

Men face the following symptoms:

  • Right-side chest discomfort or pain, with a squeezing sensation that may come and go or remain constant and intense
  • Dull aches
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Stomach discomfort that feels like indigestion
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat

Whereas women experience some slightly different symptoms:

  • Unusual fatigue lasting for several days or sudden severe fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety
  • Indigestion or gas-like pain
  • Jaw pain or pain that spreads up to your jaw
  • Throat discomfort

Women are also more likely to have a condition called broken heart syndrome, where extreme emotional stress leads to heart failure. In general, women also experience heart attacks 10 years later than men.

What can you do for better heart health today?

For better heart health, lead a healthy lifestyle with a balanced and nutritious diet. And, don't forget to schedule regular health screenings to detect risk early.
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