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Experts warns of one very common heart attack sign most women ignore

1 in 4 women in Ireland die from heart disease and stroke and experts are now warning there are some very common symptoms women are ignoring that we need to know

Experts have issued a key warning to women about the most commonly reported heart attack signs that women frequently ignore.

1 in 4 women in Ireland die from heart disease and stroke with women six times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than breast cancer in Ireland.javascript:void(0)

Yet despite this, most women are brushing off major red flag warnings that they are at risk of a heart attack.

Feelings of heartburn, anxiety and ‘funny turns’ are extremely common, however because they seem fairly harmless, women don't seek the medical attention they need.

However, one lesser known heart attack symptom is indigestion. A study, published in the journal Circulation, found that indigestion was a common symptom experienced by women in the month leading up to their cardiac event.

Around 39 percent of the women in the study reported the uncomfortable sensation before their heart attack, but indigestion was not common during the heart attack itself.

Indigestion can present as a pain or discomfort in your upper abdomen (dyspepsia) or burning pain behind the breastbone (heartburn).

Speaking on the study findings, researchers revealed: "The current description of 'typical' cardiac symptoms is based primarily on the experience of white, middle-aged men.” But this "contributes to misunderstandings in clinicians and lay individuals, leads to inaccurate diagnosis, and causes women to delay seeking treatment."

They confirmed that the most common symptoms women identified in the month before the heart attack include:

  • Unusual fatigue (71 per cent)
  • Sleep disturbance (48 per cent)
  • Shortness of breath (42 per cent)
  • Indigestion (39 per cent)
  • Anxiety (36 per cent)

During a heart attack women experienced:

  • Shortness of breath (58 per cent)
  • Weakness (55 per cent)
  • Unusual fatigue (43 per cent)
  • Cold sweat (39 per cent)
  • Dizziness (39 per cent)

CSO data shows that in 2021, a total of 4,145 women died from cardiovascular disease in Ireland which accounts for 26 per cent of all female deaths. The 2021 data also revealed that 686 women died from breast cancer in the same year, which means that women in Ireland are six times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than breast cancer.

This comes as a surprise to most. According to a poll conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the Irish Heart Foundation, more than half of women (58%) surveyed said this was higher than they thought.

From about the age of 40, a woman’s risk of heart disease and stroke increases as she moves into menopause. And yet the Ipsos poll revealed that almost one-third (30%) of women do not have enough time each day to focus on their health.

Medical Director of the Irish Heart Foundation and consultant cardiologist, Dr Angie Brown, explained why cardiovascular disease was something women need to take seriously.

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