Sometimes the body sends us signals to warn us of imminent danger. A heart attack also called a myocardial infarction, occurs when a coronary artery becomes blocked and blocks the flow of blood to the heart. As a result, the heart muscle cells are deprived of oxygen and can no longer contract. This mechanism constitutes a vital emergency since it causes the death of a more or less significant part of the myocardium. In a woman, a heart attack can give rise to specific symptoms that should be spotted, as revealed by Doctissimo and Sud Ouest.
In France, myocardial infarction causes 12,000 deaths each year, says Inserm. Men have long been thought to be more prone to this heart condition, but the gap is currently narrowing. As recalled by our colleagues from Figaro, one in three women dies from the cardiovascular disease today.
Women increasingly concerned by heart pathologies
According to Professor Philippe Amouyel, director of the “epidemiology of chronic diseases” unit at Inserm, women are less prone to cardiovascular diseases which generally appear 10 years later than men. But after menopause, the risk of having a heart risk increases dramatically due to the hormonal disruption. In addition, the professor explains that women develop more serious forms of cardiovascular pathologies. “Doctors, who are less used to encountering these illnesses at home, can sometimes be late in establishing the correct diagnosis, especially if the patient is young,” he reveals. In this sense, other risk factors explain the increase in cases of a heart attack in women aged less than 65 years. Valérie Olié, the epidemiologist at the French Institute for Public Health Surveillance, says that “25% of infarctions in women occur before the age of 65”. Smoking, physical inactivity, unhealthy eating, being overweight and stress are all factors that can cause a heart attack. Thus, the hormonal protection which the woman believes she benefits from before menopause turns out to be insufficient, says the expert. Professor Nicolas Danchin, a cardiologist at the Georges Pompidou Hospital, reveals that the first risk factor for a heart attack in people under 65 is smoking.
Symptoms of myocardial infarction in women
Most women ignore the warning signs of a heart attack. Thus, they tend to wait longer than men before contacting emergency services. According to Le Figaro, 79% of women are taken care of three hours after the start of the attack. Here are the symptoms women may experience before a heart attack:
– Chest tightness
– Pain that goes from the neck to the arm, going through the back and the upper abdomen
– Sweating, nausea, and vomiting
– Dizzying sensations which can give rise to fainting spells
– Unusual anxiety and stress
– weakness and fatigue
“Prevention is better than cure”
To limit the risk of having a myocardial infarction, be sure to adopt a healthy lifestyle is essential:
– Favor a healthy diet
A balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables and low in sugar, fat and salt protects heart health. Also, it is advisable to limit the consumption of alcohol and industrial products to have a healthy body.
– Practice regular physical activity
Exercising 30 minutes a day can effectively prevent a number of illnesses.
– Avoid tobacco consumption
Tobacco significantly increases the risk of myocardial infarction. If necessary, consult a health care professional to end this unfortunate habit.
– Manage stress
In order not to let stress attack your heart, you must know how to control anxiety-provoking situations. It is recommended to practice breathing and meditation exercises and to allow yourself moments when you feel overwhelmed by stress.