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  • Dr. Eric Carlsen

Recognizing Varied Heart Attack Symptoms in Men and Women


middle-aged man and woman sailing

This month, I'd like to shed light on a topic often overshadowed – the gender-specific differences in heart attack symptoms. While many people are familiar with the classic signs such as chest pain and discomfort, it's crucial to understand that men and women may experience heart attacks differently. In fact, women's heart attacks are sometimes not detected until later, highlighting the need for increased awareness and education.

  1. Classic Symptoms vs. Subtle Signs: Men typically experience classic heart attack symptoms, such as crushing chest pain or discomfort that may radiate to the arm or jaw. On the other hand, women may not exhibit these overt signs. Instead, they might have more subtle symptoms, including nausea, shortness of breath, or extreme fatigue.

  2. Atypical Presentations in Women: Women's heart attacks may manifest in atypical ways, leading to delayed recognition. Symptoms like indigestion, back pain, or discomfort in the neck, jaw, or shoulder are common in women but may not immediately be associated with a cardiac event.

  3. Silent Heart Attacks: Women are more likely to experience silent heart attacks, where symptoms are minimal or absent. This poses a significant challenge, as these subtle events may go unnoticed until more severe complications arise.

  4. Delay in Seeking Medical Attention: Due to the less obvious nature of symptoms, women may delay seeking medical attention, assuming their discomfort is related to other issues. This delay can impact the effectiveness of interventions and contribute to a higher risk of complications.

  5. Empowering Women with Knowledge: We must educate both men and women about the diverse ways heart attacks can present. Women should listen to their bodies and seek immediate medical attention if they experience any unusual symptoms, even if they seem unrelated to the heart.

  6. The Role of Holistic Healthcare: Chiropractors play a vital role in promoting overall health and well-being. By addressing nervous system function through chiropractic, we contribute to a healthier cardiovascular system, potentially reducing the risk of heart-related complications.

Understanding the gender-specific differences in heart attack symptoms is important for early detection and intervention. By fostering awareness and emphasizing the importance of timely medical attention, we can contribute to better heart health outcomes for all.


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