Heart attacks are usually associated with chest pain and pressure, but that is not always the case – particularly for women. 

Most women experience very little or no symptoms when having a heart attack, which is a serious concern considering heart disease is one of the leading causes of death for women in Australia.

Did you know? Women are usually considered better at addressing health concerns than men, however, they will call an ambulance for husbands, brothers, fathers etc but not for themselves. It could be said that women aren’t calling emergency services because they don’t understand that the symptoms of a female heart attack differ from a male heart attack, and they brush off the warnings as something else.

Oestrogen helps to keep the blood vessels flexible, so after a woman enters menopause, oestrogen levels drop, which can affect the blood flow to the heart. This means that a woman is at greater risk of heart attack after menopause.

If you do have a heart attack, it is important to recognise the symptoms and seek medical attention as soon as possible. The sooner you receive medical attention, the better to prevent tissue damage and salvage the heart muscle. Symptoms can include, chest pain, difficulty breathing, pressure or tightness, crushing pain in the chest, aching shoulders and back, heaviness in one or both shoulders, which can in some cases spread to the chest, some women may also experience a dull ache in the middle of their back, between the shoulder blades.

It is important to call emergency services immediately if you think you or someone around you is having a heart attack – it is ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry. Remain calm, dial 000 and ask for the ambulance, they will talk you through what to do next.

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* This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such. Please see your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. Call Mermaid Central Medical Clinic on (07) 5575 2444 or visit the website www.mermaidcentralmedicalclinic.com.au to make an appointment.

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