Women and heart attack: Just joined the... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation
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Women and heart attack

Just joined the community, lost my sister (66) last october as result of sudden cardiac arrest. She had been feeling 'bloated' and had indigestion and felt very tired but no chest pain. Have since learned that women in particular confuse indigestion with heart attack/cardiac arrest. How can we increase awareness of this?

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There was a very good article in the Women’s own mag. a few weeks ago regarding women having heart attacks. It was a bit of an eye opener and described the symptoms for women. My own Mother died from a silent heart attack. I suffer from heart failure so I suppose that made me take note of the article which I have kept and have insisted that my three daughters read,

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You're right, we do need to increase awareness. I tell every woman I meet but what it really needs is a big media campaign and this would perhaps be something for B.H.F. to organise.

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The BHF is aware that there is a problem.

Woman do not have access to the same level of care following a heart attack and are more likely to die.

I am sorry that you have lost your sister too.

Often women have different symptoms such as extreme tiredness, difficulty sleeping , stomach and upper back pain and breathlessness.

Women's symptoms are quite often over looked or women are told they are having a panic attack.

bhf.org.uk/what-we-do/news-...

blog.bhf.org.uk/not-my-prob...

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So sorry to hear about your sister. My symptoms were similar to hers. I have been trying raise awareness via facebook. My heart attack was like the worse heartburn I’d ever had x100 but still like heart burn. There was also pain in my right arm not left. A lady in hospital with me had no symptoms at all other than fainting. I’ve read a few good articles in the past and posted on fb and asked friends to ‘share’ them to try to raise awareness. If I had known I would have acted much quicker. A national campaign a bit like the FAST for stroke campaign would be very good.

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Yes I agree. A national campaign would be a good idea.

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Doctors also need to be made aware of women's symptoms so we aren't ignored.

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And pharmacists should ask more questions to check such as does the person usually suffer heartburn or is this something new? Have they got high cholesterol? Family history of heart disease,etc.

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Sorry to hear about your sister. We have a cardiothoracic surgeon here in Western Australia, Dr Nikki Stamp, who has a particular interest in women’s heart health who is doing a great job with awareness. I enjoyed her book “Can you die of a broken heart?” We need s few other experts to speak out too, and of course, the audience needs to be prepared to listen and act.

drnikkistamp.com/can-you-di...

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Yes you can have a heart attack due a very stressful experience such as grief

Takostubo cardiomyopathy/ syndrome yet another condition along with Spontaneous coronary artery dissection ( SCAD) and Vasospastic and Microvascular angina that effects women more often.

Here in the UK Dr Dana Dawson is researching into Takostubo syndrome.

bhf.org.uk/informationsuppo...

As Bantam has already said awareness needs to be raised within the Cardiology profession about how Women are different!

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I learnt the hard way, I had been seeking medical advice for around a year and was told I had anxiety/panic attacks. Had a HA no pain, but in hindsight I felt dreadful for many months prior extremely exhausted, breathless doing the most basic of things. The most noticeable symptom was my colour I was very 'grey' blueish tinge to my face. Best thing is to have a health check at your doctors and telling them about your sister which I offer my condolences. I felt nauseous, washed out. If you have any concerns don't ever worry about seeking medical advice. We women often ignore how our bodies are feeling and continue to soldier on. So listen to your body and don't ignore how you feel. Hope this helps

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You are so right. Thanks for your reply.

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This was also my experience; no chest pain, just terrible indigestion then after 36 hours, pain down my left arm. It was only thanks to two very on the ball paramedics who saw a tiny thing on my ECG that I was admitted but even then I was left for hours and hours on a corridor because I didn't match the criteria for a heart attack. Apparently I should have been cold and sweating with bad chest pain. Even A&E departments don't know how female heart attacks present.

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Scary to say the least. I remember going to my GP with the usual palpitations chest pain and pain down left arm and was told only to be concerned if there was tingling in my hand. A lot of these are put down to anxiety/panic attacks and not enough is being done or just another pain or ache to add to the ever growing list. Thank goodness those two paramedics were on hand. Hope you are feeling a lot better now and remember what to watch our for according to the medical professionals

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What do we want equal access to care!

When do we want it now!

blog.bhf.org.uk/what-women-...

I have written admission plan so the staff know how to treat my Coronary spasms.....still get left for hours in pain though....I don't look as though I am about to expire!

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This was published recently

dailymail.co.uk/health/arti...

It Certainly resonated with me - like many others there was always another reason for my symptoms and I guess that’s true for lots of us.

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If they were using joined up thinking they would link the fact that high-glycaemic diets are associated with premature menopause, and realise that it is the raised insulin levels that hasten the menopause and lead to atherosclerosis.

Many of these chronic conditions are halted when people follow the ICS-NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme approaches.

However, I would say the vast majority are stuck in an 'avoid saturated fat' paradigm that is a red herring akin to fiddling whilst Rome burns.

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I've been dismissed, patted on the head and told for years "everything is normal dear" now I'm waiting for a definite diagnosis of heart block 😡

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Thanks Susie AG. Hadn't seen this.

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It happened to my Mother-in-law in 2001. Went to the doctor, was told she had indigestion despite being on bp medication for numerous years, went home to bed where she was discovered having had a massive heart attack.

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Hi ScarboroughLily, so sorry to hear of your loss. Thanks very much for raising this. We know that heart attacks are unfortunately often seen as a 'male' health issue. The most important thing is recognising the symptoms; something that we know women are less likely to do. Heart attack doesn’t always present itself in the form of classic chest pain (the same is true for men) There is absolutely more work to be done to raise awareness of this issue but we're committed to doing that.

You can read more on the symptoms here: bhf.org.uk/informationsuppo...

Hope this helps!

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Hi I have just joined , I had a silent heart attack two years ago and have just been fitted with an icd, when I went to doctors to say I had been up all night as I couldn't breath she listened to my chest etc , sent me to hospital where they thought at first it could be a kidney infection which I thought was probably right but a doc came an said no it was my heart , I never had any pain , but I did have the breathlessness there was fluid in my lungs was in hospital for two weeks , since I turned 50 5 years ago it's been all downhill but the good side I'm still here , I never got offered any sort of counselling or told about any support groups , and I agree there is not enough awareness of the symptoms that women have or may not have. When my friend came to visit she did say I wasn't a very greying .sorry for the long post

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I feel like you Bettyb64 its been downhill since hitting 50! I had acute myopericarditis 18 months ago age 55. I can look back and see I had been poorly for months before hand but nothing significant. My recovery has been very slow and I have some permanent damage to my heart. I have only just been referred for cardio rehab due to not being able to cope with it earlier. But Im viewing this as a positive step & hoping to go from strength to strength now. Good luck on your journey x

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Thank you, I think maybe I was coping but find I have really bad days where I don't even get dressed , I have bad arteries in my legs ,and bad hands and feet due to diabetes along all the other problems this causes doo trying to walk anywhere puts me right off going anywhere , I hope your rehab goes well

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So sorry about your sister x

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My sister in law thought she had indigestion - which she’d often had over the years. Went to bed early one night to sleep it off and died a couple of hours later. She was 59. Her mother had died in exactly the same manner at the same age. The family have all now had check ups for cholesterol etc

I had a heart attack 3 years ago and the only symptoms I’d had previously were tiredness and a severe pain under my tongue only a couple of times in the preceding week.

There’s no way I would have linked that with the heart attack.

I’m so sorry about your sister and hope that you are managing to cope with your loss.

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