Many people think that the signs leading up to a heart attack start only hours or minutes before the event actually occurs, but health professionals say that you may be able to identify a heart attack risk in the months prior. Keep reading to learn more.
Can women and men experience symptoms of a heart attack months ahead of time?
Yes. Zi-Jian Xu, a health cardiologist at Sutter Health, said that men and women can both experience a variety of symptoms that could point to a risk of heart attack months (or even longer) ahead of time.
If so, what are these symptoms?
Symptoms vary and may include:
- Radiating chest pain
- Heaviness or discomfort
- Heart palpitations
- Cold sweats
- Shortness of breath
Women are more likely to experience subtle indicators including:
- General sense of unease
- Vague discomfort
- Back or abdominal pain
- Less stamina
When’s the best time to see a doctor?
Regular visits with your doctor may help ease your mind or clue your doctor in to symptoms that could indicate a possible risk. If you have symptoms that seem to be getting worse, contact your doctor immediately.
Xu recommends that patients focus on preventing heart attacks by becoming more active and eating a healthier diet.
What other considerations should one make?
The symptoms listed don’t always indicate that an individual is at risk for a heart attack. Individuals should consider their risk factor in addition to symptoms. Men and women who are overweight, have a history of heart disease or heart attacks, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and are older are at a higher risk. If you fall into one or more of these categories and you are concerned about symptoms, talk to a medical professional.