Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of illness and death amongst women in Australia. Cardiovascular disease is a broad term used to describe the many different conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. In 2017-2018, more than half a million women aged 18 and over were diagnosed with a form of cardiovascular disease. In 2020, over 6,500 Australian women died from coronary heart disease alone which equates to almost 18 women per day. Coronary heart disease or Ischaemic heart disease is the most common cardiovascular disease which has two main clinical forms, angina and heart attack. Heart attack occurs when a blood vessel supplying the heart is suddenly blocked, leading to damage of the heart muscle, and compromising its functions.
Did you know that heart attack symptoms in women can be different to those experienced by men?
As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort however as demonstrated by the infographic above, women are somewhat more likely than men to experience other symptoms, particularly jaw, neck or upper back pain, pain or pressure in the lower chest or upper abdomen, fainting, indigestion, or extreme fatigue. It has also been noted that women often experience heart attack symptoms when resting or even while sleeping, and symptoms are not always accompanied by chest pain.
Common Symptoms of Heart Attack (Men and Women)
- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the centre of your chest. It can last more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness.
If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms,
call triple zero (000)
Heart Support Australia Peer Support Groups & Free Membership
Experiencing a heart event increases your risk of having another. Your mental health, social interactions with people, and participation in activities play a huge role in your recovery and improving your quality of life. It is important to avoid isolation and make sure you are connecting with family, friends and support groups with your peers to help reduce your risks of a secondary heart event.
Visit here to find out more about Heart Support Australia Peer Support Groups and free membership.