We are all likely to be aware of the main symptoms of a heart attack – tightness, pain and pressure in the chest, neck, jaw, arms and back. But are we all up to date with the lesser known symptoms and how they differ in men and women? Other, less common, warning signs of a heart attack are fatigue, shortness of breath, coughing, nausea and vomiting, and these can be experienced by both genders.
However, there are some specific warning signs for women. These include:
- sleep disturbance
And men should be aware of:
- cold sweats
It is definitely important to be aware of the general signs and symptoms, but we must also keep in mind that every heart attack and every individual is different.We spoke to Dr Paul Stillman, who warns, 'The most significant thing to remember is that women do not expect to suffer heart attacks and so underestimate their symptoms, or put them down to indigestion or something less serious. But both sexes can have non-classical symptoms.'
'A few people don't even get chest pain,' Dr Stillman continues. 'So anything that arouses suspicion, like breathlessness, recurrent or even mild pain, particularly associated with exercise or in the early morning, needs investigating. The tests are quick and simple, after all. There is a cluster of heart attacks around 6-8am, because the low resting night-time blood pressure starts to rise as sleep lightens and the body prepares to change from horizontal to vertical.'