Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Warning Signs Of Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)In Women

It's been realized for some time that women are just as likely as men to have a heart attack (myocardial infarction, or MI); however, the classical signs described by men aren't always reported by women. Coronary heart disease remains the primary cause of death in women in the USA.

Prodromal (precursory) symptoms were reported by 95% of the women. The most frequent ones, reported one month before their MI, were unusual fatigue (71%), sleep disturbance (48%), shortness of breath (42%), indigestion (39%), and anxiety (36%). The majority of these (over 80%) were rated as severe or moderate. One or more of these prodromal symptoms occurred daily or several times a week, for at least a month before the MI, in 75% of the women experiencing them.

Unlike men, only 30% of the women reported chest discomfort, which could be aching, tightness, pressure, sharp, burning, fullness or tingling.

On average, 7 acute symptoms were reported by each woman. Women with more prodromal symptoms had more acute symptoms. The most frequent were shortness of breath (58%), weakness (55%), fatigue (43%), cold sweat (39%), and dizziness (39%).
As many as 43% of the women had no chest pain or discomfort whatsoever. Among those that did, the sensation was described as aching, tightness, or pressure, but not pain.

Myocardial infarction occurs due to narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. Coronary arteries lie on the surface of the heart and supply it with oxygen. The source of oxygen, however, may be altered if fatty deposits (plaque) are produced, causing atherosclerosis. Extensive atherosclerosis reduces blood flow to the heart, causing chest pain and shortness of breath.' In women, angina is often atypical and does not follow any recognizable pattern. Women with angina may just complain of a little neck ache, occasional pain in the back or breast, or tingling in the fingers.

The patient is usually restless, apprehensive, pale, diaphoretic, and in severe pain. The skin is usually cool, and peripheral or central cyanosis may be present. The pulse is thready and the blood pressure is variable; however, many patients initially have some degree of hypertension, unless cardiogenic shock is developing. Arrhythmia is common: bradycardia or extrasystoles may be observed early in the course of myocardial infarction. The heart sounds are usually somewhat distant; the presence of a fourth heart sound is almost universal.

Women may be misdiagnosed and sent home and not thoroughly investigated for coronary heart disease! Therefore, it is essential to investigate patients who present with any of the previously mentioned signs and symptoms.

Queens, are you predisposed to diabetes, heart disease, smoker, heavy drinker of alcohol, or high cholesterol. It is imperative for you to make an appointment with your PCP or cardiologist. Early detection and prevention is key in the survival rate in women. African American women are more likely to die from heart disease than their white counterparts.

I value my sistahs and their spirits. I besiege you to be vigilant and advocates of good health for yourself as well as your mothers, sistahs, aunts, grandmothers, neighbors, cousins, co-workers and any female you may know. Heart disease is avoidable, detectable, and preventable. Raise your self-awareness and become apart of the movement of good health and longevity. The Tuesday's health blog topic of the day is to be used as a source of initial introduction to a health issue or to reinforce what knowledge you may already have. This information should not be used as a medical substitute from the sound and professional advice that your physician can offer you. For more indepth information about this subject, please log on to website http://findarticles.com.

Peace and Blessings,

Tracey ReNissa

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