Heart attack symptoms in men can be very different than those in women, which is something doctors didn’t realize until quite recently. Unfortunately, for most of us there is one common notion of what a heart attack looks like…severe chest pain that causes someone to clutch at their chest and drop to the floor, but that scenario is actually a lot less common in both men and women than most people realize. For this reason, many heart attacks go undiagnosed until it is too late.
In fact, there can be many signs of a heart attack in men, some of which may occur early on. These early symptoms are the most important to look for as doctors estimate that 85 percent of heart damage occurs within the first two hours after experiencing a heart attack.
Early symptoms can include mild pain or discomfort in the chest that comes and goes; pain in the shoulders, neck or jaw; sweating; nausea or vomiting; lightheadedness or fainting; breathlessness and a feeling of severe anxiety, confusion or “impending doom”.
These early symptoms can occur in both men and women, but as time passes that’s when heart attack symptoms in men begin to differ from those in women. Men are more likely to experience the traditional sensation of severe chest pain that makes it feel like they have a heavy weight sitting on their chest. This pain is often accompanied by a squeezing sensation that may either come and go or remain constant.
Other signs of a heart attack in men can include upper body pain or discomfort, most likely in the arms, left shoulder, back, neck jaw or stomach; rapid or irregular heartbeat; stomach discomfort that may be mistaken for indigestion; shortness of breath even while resting; dizziness and breaking out in a cold sweat. By the time you are experiencing any of these symptoms you are in immediate need of medical help and should call 911.
As mentioned before, the key to surviving a heart attack for men and women is early detection and treatment, so the sooner you recognize the signs and get help the better off you’ll be. In any case, you should be aware of how your body normally feels so that you can immediately recognize any heart attack symptoms and take action immediately.
Of course, the outward signs of a heart attack in men are not the only difference between the genders when it comes to heart health. Men are far more likely to experience heart attacks than women and your risk can be further elevated by mitigating factors such as a family history of heart disease, a history of smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity.
Generally speaking, the specific heart attack symptoms in men are easier to detect than those in women, as women are far less likely to experience the chest pain most people associate with heart attack. For women, the symptoms of heart attack can more easily be mistaken for other conditions as they include things like a sensation of indigestion, fatigue, sleep disturbances and anxiety. For this reason, heart attacks in women tend to go untreated more often or aren’t diagnosed as quickly, thus leaving them at greater risk of severe damage and even death.
Heart disease remains the most common cause of death among both men and women, so it is extremely important for everyone to recognize the symptoms of heart attack and to be aware of what is happening with their body at all times. The sooner you identify the signs of a heart attack in men, the better your chances of getting help in time and avoiding tragic consequences. It’s your heart, it’s your health and men need to be just as vigilant with it as women.