Senior Care Awareness: Heart Attack Symptoms in Women
Did you know that heart disease is the leading killer of women, and that more women will lose their lives to heart disease each year than to breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and all other cancers combined? February is American Heart Month, the perfect opportunity for you to show your aging mother than you “heart” her beyond the chocolates, candies, flowers, and other gifts that tend to dominate thoughts around this time of year. Making your senior mother’s heart health an important focus of your senior care journey with her allows you to protect her while also encouraging a happy, healthy, and fulfilling quality of life throughout her aging years.
Something very important to note about women and heart disease is that this “silent killer” frequently shows different symptoms in women than it does in men. This is part of the reason why more people think of men when it comes to heart disease and dying from complications such as heart attacks than they do women. By understanding the most common symptoms of issues such as a heart attack you can be prepared to see recognize these symptoms in your elderly mother and take the proper steps to address them quickly, effectively, and efficiently.
Common symptoms of heart attack in women include:
- A squeezing sensation or feeling of fullness in the center of her chest that lasts for several minutes. It may also go away for a little while and then come back. This symptom is often mistaken for indigestion or not swallowing food or a beverage all the way
- Pain or an uncomfortable sensation in the stomach, throughout the jaw and neck, in the back, or in one or both of her arms
- Feeling short of breath without having another explanation for it, or feeling more short of breath than she should in relation to the activity that she is doing
- Sudden lightheadedness
- Sudden unexplained nausea
- Cold sweats
- Sudden extreme fatigue
- Like men, women may also experience chest pain, but it is less likely that they will experience this as their primary symptom.
Many people assume that heart attacks are dramatic, easy to identify events, but the truth is, especially with elderly women, these serious issues can go largely unnoticed. Your mother may think that she is just a bit under the weather or that something that she ate is not agreeing with her, and may not seek out proper medical attention, which could result in very serious health consequences.
Protecting your mother from a heart attack starts with understanding her heart health. Start with bringing her to see her doctor and discussing her personal risks for heart disease and what you can do within your senior care journey to reduce that risk. Some easy ways that you and your mother’s senior health care services provider can help her live a more heart-healthy lifestyle include cutting down on saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium in her diet, encouraging her to quit smoking, and getting up and active more often. Let American Heart Month be the start of your journey of loving your mother’s heart.