The heart pumps about 5 litres of blood per minute to supply oxygen to the whole body. It consumes 10% of this oxygen on its own. However, asphyxia threatens the heart when the coronary arteries become blocked and cannot supply enough oxygen. If the blood flow is completely interrupted, the result is a myocardial infarction and permanent destruction of the oxygen-deprived part of the heart muscle.
Heart attack symptoms in women
Women should learn to recognise atypical heart attack symptoms. They should be on alert if they experience the following symptoms suddenly or intensely: chest tightness, shortness of breath, palpitations, shortness of breath on exertion or sometimes at rest, persistent fatigue, digestive problems, nausea.
However, women tend to underestimate pain and its symptoms in general, leading to delayed treatment and missed opportunities for these women, whose arteries are more difficult to revascularise, thinner and more sensitive to stress than those of men.
Specificities in women
Recent studies on the characteristics of myocardial infarction in young women highlight the higher incidence of diabetes, obesity and smoking in women compared to men of the same age. From the age of 50 onwards, women have higher cholesterol levels, are more often hypertensive or diabetic and more severe than men.
In addition, women are affected by specific hormonal risk factors that should not be overlooked: contraception with synthetic oestrogens (especially after the age of 35 and with active smoking), complicated pregnancy and menopause.