A heart attack occurs, in most cases, when a vessel supplying the heart muscle with blood and oxygen becomes completely blocked. The vessel has become narrowed by a slow buildup of fatty deposits, made mostly of cholesterol. When a clot occurs in this narrowed vessel, it completely blocks the supply of blood to the heart muscle. That part of the muscle will begin to die if the individual does not immediately seek medical attention.
Heart attacks have beginnings. These "beginnings" occur in over 50 percent of patients. More importantly, if recognized in time, these "beginnings" can be treated before the heart is damaged. 85 percent of heart damage occurs within the first two hours of a heart attack. There are warning signs and risk factors associated with heart attacks in men and women.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Each year, approximately 1.2 million Americans suffer a heart attack, and nearly one-third of these individuals die, many before they reach the hospital.
People often dismiss heart attack warning signs, such as chest pain, and think they have heartburn or a pulled muscle. Many people wait too long before getting help. Recognize the early symptoms of a heart attack.
These symptoms may come and go until finally becoming constant and severe. Treatments are most effective when they occur in the early stages of chest pain.
The following risk factors have been linked to a higher incidence of heart attack and should be addressed and eliminated. If you, or someone you care about, struggles with any of these risks, talk to your doctor about ways to remove these behaviors before they have a chance to impact your health.
Source: American Heart Association
Like in men, the most common heart attack symptom for women is pain or discomfort in the chest. However, women can also have a heart attack without having any chest pain. Some of the other symptoms women might experience include:
• Feeling out of breath
• Pain that runs along the neck, jaw, or upper back
• Nausea, vomiting or indigestion
• Unexplained sweating or dizziness
• Sudden or overwhelming fatigue