A myocardial infarction in women is not always symptomatic. Sometimes it happens silently and that increases the risk of long-term damage. Not being able to detect it early, the patient does not consult and the condition evolves.
It is possible to speak differently about a myocardial infarction in women than in men, because each gender has its own particularities. So much so that the Scientific studies they tend to distinguish between those who value one or the other.
Recognizing the early onset of symptoms of this condition is key to survival. Indeed, constitutes a health emergency which should resolve soon as the first two hours can be crucial for forecasting.
What is myocardial infarction?
Let’s say there is a myocardial infarction when the heart muscle dies in a part of the whole tissue. Cardiomyocytes are the cells that make up the heart, and like the rest, they need a supply of oxygen and nutrients to function.
If one of the coronary arteries responsible for carrying blood to the cardiomyocytes becomes blocked, the cells are left without food. Metabolism stops and more or less extensive death processes begin.
The obstruction of the coronary arteries is usually related to the generation of thrombi. by coagulation or by accumulation of plaque arteriosclerosis. This, in the background, responds to cumulative risk factors in the body.
For both men and women, the conditions leading to myocardial infarction are similar. In any case, in the female sex it becomes evident that hormones play a fundamental role.
According to a article of Scientific journal of research and knowledge, the arrival of menopause increases the chances of a cardiovascular event lowering the protection provided by estrogen.
Symptoms of myocardial infarction in women
One of the first Scientific studies which established the differences in myocardial infarction symptoms between women and men dates back to the year 2003. It was published in the journal circulation and included 515 patients from various geographic locations.
Between them, the most predominant sign was chest pain. Being a cell death, the obstruction of circulation in the heart causes microscopic chemical manifestations that the nerves interpret as pain.
In any case, and based on this research that we report, it has been established that up to 43% of women do not experience chest pain. It means that many heart attacks will not have what is considered a classic sign of the disease.
Other symptoms of myocardial infarction in women that we can mention are as follows:
- extreme tirednesswith fatigue above the usual. It is a symptom that can appear up to a month before going through the acute episode of the heart attack.
- Anxiety and sleep disturbances.
- Shortness of breath. Sometimes associated with extreme tiredness and, therefore, with onset up to 30 days before the heart attack. Dyspnea causes less oxygen to circulate to tissues, especially muscles, making it difficult to walk and move.
- Epigastralgia. This is pain that is confused with heartburn in the pit of the stomach. This results in a symptom that she confuses when the woman first suffers from gastritis, because she assumes it is more of indigestion than she is used to.
- Pain in the upper limbs, as irradiation of chest pain to the left arm.
Symptoms of myocardial infarction in menopausal women
Menopause means a drop in hormones in women. Estrogens are the most affected and with them a large part of the metabolism of the body’s tissues is altered.
Given the decline in these substances circulating in the blood, women increase the risk of osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension and, of course, acute myocardial infarction.
According to one revision of Journal of the Central American Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology, estrogens regulate vasodilation and contraction of the arteries, hence its absence disrupts blood flow systems.
What can happen in women over 50 with a heart attack is that some symptoms are exacerbated. Chest pain is more intense and tends to radiate more rapidly to the upper limbs and neck. The jaw is also an area that can cause pain as a reference to the heart.
Arrhythmias are more common in and during menopause acute cardiovascular episodeswhich increases the ultimate risk of death. If the fibrillations aren’t reversed, for example, the body doesn’t get adequate circulation.
Menopause can also be the subject of a silent heart attack. With age, the innervation of peripheral nerves and their sensitivity decrease, so pain takes time to appear and be felt.
Heart attack is an emergency
Beyond the symptoms of myocardial infarction, both in women and men, It must be recognized that the disease is an emergency. Immediate consultation is required if an ongoing cardiovascular event is suspected.
It is important to have emergency services data at home in the area where we live. The identification of a heart attack must mobilize us towards rapid and qualified professional assistance.
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