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Often times a heart attack is the first sign of heart disease. Women often mistake the warning signs of heart attack with common, less life-threatening ailments like acid reflux, the flu or normal changes with age. Heart attack symptoms in women can include but are not limited to:
The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (also referred to as atherosclerosis). It is the number one cause of death in the United States for both men and women.
The coronary arteries are tubes that allow blood to flow into your heart muscle. Coronary artery disease occurs when those tubes, called arteries, are hardened and blocked by a substance called plaque. As the plaque build-up becomes thicker over time, the arteries begin to narrow, restricting blood flow to the heart. This keeps your heart from getting the oxygen it needs and can cause chest pains (called angina) or a heart attack.
Signs of coronary artery disease can be mild, like feeling very tired, or as severe as intense chest pain. They can happen slowly or come on very suddenly. Heart attacks happen when your heart is no longer receiving blood, sometimes because of clogged arteries, but most of the time because a blood clot cuts off your heart's blood supply.
When you suffer from coronary artery disease for a long time, your heart becomes weaker and can't pump enough blood to the rest of the body (heart failure). You may also experience a change in the normal beating pattern of your heart, called arrhythmias.
Mercy Gilbert offers a full range of cardiac diagnostic services to identify coronary artery disease. Our complete heart care program will guide you through treatment and cardiac rehabilitation.
If you have questions about coronary artery disease or any other heart disease questions, please call our heart experts at 480.728.7253. If you don't have a doctor, please call our ResourceLink at 480.728.5414, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and we'd be happy to help you find a professional who meets your needs.