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Symptoms Of Heart Blockage In Females And Their Diagnosis
Symptoms Of Heart Blockage In Females

 

Heart attacks can often happen to many people suddenly. However, there is evidence that women can show symptoms for several weeks before a heart attack. An article published in 2019 describes a study of 511 women who had suffered a heart attack, and 70 percent of them reported having at least one symptom at least 4 weeks before. Sleep can also be disturbed by these symptoms, which may be constant or intermittent. In any condition where these symptoms occur, a woman must seek care as soon as possible since heart attacks can prove deadly regardless of the severity of symptoms. Some of the possible symptoms of heart blockage in females are:

 

1. Chest pain

Regardless of gender, chest pain or discomfort is the most common symptom of a heart attack. It can be summarized as follows:

  • Tightness
  • Pressure
  • Squeezing
  • Aching

A woman can still experience a heart attack despite not experiencing any discomfort in her chest. A survey conducted in 2019 found that 31 percent of the women reported chest discomfort in the weeks before the attack. Sixty percent of the women experienced chest discomfort during the attack.

 

2. Abnormally high levels of fatigue

An increased level of fatigue is common in the weeks before a heart attack. An increased level of fatigue is also common just before the attack. The mere act of moving about can exhaust you, even if it does not require much effort.

 

3. Weakness

A woman experiencing a heart attack is likely to feel weak or shaken. There may be other symptoms of heart blockage in females associated with this weakness or shaking, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Feeling lightheaded

 

4. Shortness of breath

Especially if accompanied by fatigue or chest pain, shortness of breath or heavy breathing without exercise can indicate a heart problem. The symptoms usually ease when a woman sits upright. Those who are lying down may experience shortness of breath.

 

5. Sweating

A common symptom of a heart attack is excessive sweating without any reason. It is also possible for a heart problem to make you feel cold and clammy.

 

6. Upper body pain

In the upper body, this condition is usually non-specific and cannot be tied to any specific limb or muscle. The following areas are potentially affected:

  • Neck
  • Jaw
  • Upper back or either arm

Depending on the location and severity of the pain, it can develop in a single area and spread to others over time.

 

7. Problems with sleep

A study from 2019 found that nearly half of women had problems sleeping in the weeks prior to having a heart attack. There are several causes of these symptoms of heart blockage in females, including:

  • Not being able to sleep
  • Sleep disturbances throughout the night
  • Getting enough sleep but feeling tired

 

8. Digestive issues

An attack of heart disease can be preceded by stomach discomfort or pain. In addition, you may experience the following digestive issues:

  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

 

Are women more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than men?

A term used for many different conditions, cardiovascular disease often refers to heart disease. Women are more likely to develop the following types of heart disease:

 

Atherosclerosis

The most prevalent form of cardiovascular disease in the United States, and a cause of heart attacks, occurs when the arteries are clogged with plaque, causing the heart to be unable to receive adequate blood circulation.

 

Arrhythmia

The irregular heartbeat of these conditions (e.g., atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter) is marked by their existence.

 

Diseases of the heart valves 

Prolapse, regurgitation, and stenosis of the aortic valve are all valve diseases.

 

Microvascular disease

This occurs when plaque forms in the small vessels supplying blood to the heart, causing angina. Females are more susceptible to angina than males.

 

Cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure

Conditions are caused by fluid accumulation in the lungs because the heart is not functioning properly.  

 

Congenital heart defects

Structured heart problems that are present at birth are categorized under this term. The septum, which separates the right and left sides of the heart, is one example of abnormally formed valves or holes.

 

Broken heart syndrome

The term refers to a temporary condition in which people experience sudden chest pains and tightness following stressful or unexpected circumstances. Men are more likely to experience this condition than women.

 

What is the procedure for diagnosing cardiovascular disease in women?

Both men and women undergo the same treatment for heart disease. Medication, angioplasty, stenting, coronary bypass surgery, and cardiac rehabilitation may be prescribed, depending on the diagnosis. If you want to delay heart disease's onset, your doctor may recommend changes in your lifestyle. Various studies show that women tend to be treated insufficiently in regard to heart disease, as women suffering a heart attack are much less likely to have their symptoms treated than men, resulting in an almost two-to-one death rate.

In light of this, women need to learn about their risk factors, as well as the symptoms of heart disease, in order to know how to avoid or treat their condition. Yale-New Haven Health's Women's Heart & Vascular Program is available for women concerned about their heart health. Their first visit will include a medical history form and a discussion with their medical care provider regarding their health history, diet and exercise habits, and any symptoms they may be experiencing.

“We want them to know that they’re being listened to—that they tell us their symptoms, and we take them seriously,” Dr. Freed says. The goal, she says, is to give women a diagnosis as soon as possible. “Either they end up finding that their cardiovascular health is good,” she says, “or we find risk factors that need to be managed, or we find coronary artery disease or an arrhythmia that needs to be treated.”

Blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels are checked by doctors using blood tests. The significance of abnormal levels and the associated risk factors for heart disease make it essential that patients understand the test results. “We try to empower women to take control of their health and to know what their numbers are so that they can be treated more effectively," says Dr. Freed. The symptoms of heart blockage in females are suspected if one of the following tests is ordered by a doctor:

 

Electrocardiogram 

A patch is wrapped around the arm, the leg, or the chest that has electrodes connected to it. When the patch is worn, the electrodes record your heartbeat as it travels all over your body. This might show if a heart attack or heart disease has caused damage to the cardiovascular system.

 

Stress Test 

During this test, you exercise on a treadmill while wearing electrodes. An alternative method is to use chemicals to simulate the heart's reaction to exercise. Echocardiography, nuclear medicine, PET, or MRI technologies may be used.

 

Echocardiography

An audio recording of your heart beating is created by using sound waves. It can be used to determine the size and shape of the heart, as well as any damage to certain parts.

 

Computerized tomography (CT) angiogram of the coronary arteries:

During a computerized tomography (CT) scan of the coronary arteries, you can directly see the blood flow.

 

Cardiac MRI 

An MRI scan provides a more detailed look at heart structure than a standard echocardiogram.

 

Coronary Angiography

During the procedure, dye is administered directly into coronary arteries to enhance their visibility on special X-rays. By tracing blood flow through the coronary arteries, doctors can identify blockages and heart attacks.

 

Conclusion

Women die from heart disease at a rate of one in four in the United States. Both men and women suffer from heart disease due to narrowing or blocking their coronary arteries, the vessels supplying blood to their hearts. The disease occurs slowly over time and is called coronary artery disease. Most heart attacks are caused by coronary artery disease.

If women are to have better heart health, it is imperative that healthcare keeps pace with the realization of women's unique heart anatomy and makes sure this new understanding of women's heart health leads to more effective prevention, evaluation, and management. Additionally, women need to obtain information and empowerment and ensure their hearts are well-cared for. The chances of experiencing symptoms of heart blockage in females increase as they grow older. All women should take heart health seriously. Healthy lifestyle habits can help reduce the chances of developing heart disease.

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