Heart Attack Questions
Questions & Answers

Questions about heart attacks in women

Questions about heart attacks

Heart Attack Questions

Contents

Do Women Experience Heart Attacks Differently To Men?
What Is The Difference Between Cardiac Arrest and A Heart Attack?
What Is An AED?
Can Aspirin Really Save My Life?
Do Earlobe Creases Really Indicate Heart Disease?
Are People With Bad Teeth More At Risk Of Heart Attacks?
How Do I Know If I've Had A Heart Attack?


Main Guide:
Heart Attacks in Women

Do Women Experience Heart Attacks Differently To Men?

Yes, it is true. Heart attack symptoms in women tend to be milder than in men. Nearly one third of women do not even experience the classic signs of chest pain. They are more likely to experience flu-like symptoms and have trouble sleeping in the weeks prior to a heart attack. As a result, through lack of awareness, they tend to delay reporting their symptoms before seeking heart attack treatment.

What Is The Difference Between Cardiac Arrest and A Heart Attack?

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is when the internal electrical system of the heart develops a problem (arrhythmia). There are many different types of arrhythmias, and SCA occurs when the heart develops one that causes it to stop beating. The person loses consciousness, stops breathing and no longer has a pulse. This differs to a heart attack where the heart usually continues to beat but blood flow to the heart is blocked (explanation, see causes of heart attacks). There are different causes of SCA, a heart attack is one cause, but others include drowning, electrocution or choking on something.

What Is An AED?

An AED stands for an automated external defibrillator. These portable devices can effectively increase a person's chance of surviving a cardiac arrest if used within 3 minutes of the person collapsing. The device detects and automatically measures a person heartbeat and determines the correct amount of electrical current needed to restore natural rhythm. AED's can be used by non medical staff who have been given some training, for example fire fighters or flight attendants. AED units are being increasingly installed in workplaces and in public places where people gather or where the incidence of a heart attack might be high such as a nursing home, airport or health club (It is also possible to purchase a home defibrillator device). Look for signs similar to this to indicate an AED is available:

AED Sign

Can Aspirin Really Save My Life?

As difficult as it may be to believe, this common household drug used for treating headaches is in fact a very powerful clot-busting heart drug. Chewing one single adult aspirin if you think you are having a heart attack can reduce your chance of dying by about 20 percent. This makes it one of the most cost-effective life saving measures in medicine. It should not however be taken if you are having a stroke because not all strokes are caused by blood clots. Read more: Aspirin therapy.

Do Earlobe Creases Really Indicate Heart Disease?

According to several studies, yes. An earlobe crease (image) is a line that runs diagonally across the earlobe. It seems to predict a person has an increased chance of developing coronary heart disease (CHD) - the main underlying cause of heart attacks. If you do have a crease, don't panic. It doesn't mean you will have a heart attack - it just means that you need to pay extra attention to your health and heart attack prevention advice.

Are People With Bad Teeth More At Risk Of Heart Attacks?

This subject has been investigated for a number of years. Recent studies indicate that higher rates of tooth loss, periodontitis (gum disease) and other oral problems seem to be linked to thickening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). The rate of heart disease in women and men seems to rise with the amount of teeth lost, and that the treatment of periodontitis seems to reverse atherosclerosis (image). It is still not clear if keeping your teeth and gums healthy protects your heart - or if it is just that people with bad teeth tend to have bad diets which raise their heart attack risk factors.

How Do I Know If I've Had A Heart Attack?

This question is not as silly as it first sounds. Firstly, as many women only experience mild symptoms when they have a heart attack, they may be misdiagnosed with angina symptoms. Secondly, millions of Americans experience what is termed a silent heart attack every year without knowing it. A silent heart attack causes little or no pain and only mild chest discomfort which might be mistaken for indigestion. Yet, they are just as statistically dangerous and fatal as heart attacks which produce symptoms. If you feel you may have suffered a silent heart attack, ask your doctor to carry out heart attack tests, including an electrocardiogram (ECG) and C-reactive protein test. Alternatively look for local chest pain clinics in your area who specialize in this area of medical care.

Related Questions
What is the prognosis for heart failure?
When is CPR necessary?
How is hands only CPR performed?

  Related Articles on Heart Conditions

For more heart health, see the following:

Chest Pain in Women
Heart Attack Rehabilitation

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