One of the most dangerous and also most misunderstood things that can happen to you is a heart attack. This article offers some education on what to look for in heart attack symptoms in women. There are also multiple links to additional educational sites included.
Heart Attack Signs
What is a Heart Attack?
A heart attack aka myocardial infarction kills about 750,000 men and women in the U.S. annually. Most of these occur before the victim even reaches the emergency room. For the ones that are able to reach the hospital, their chances of survival exceed ninety percent. Those who die after reaching the emergency room typically suffered major damage to their heart.
Modern medicine has improved the chances of survival with the use of procedures like, coronary angiogram and PTCA (coronary balloon angioplasty), and drugs which will help to dissolve clots. This gives physicians the ability to quickly open blocked arteries which helps to restore circulation in the heart and help to limit damage to the heart muscle. Limiting damage to the heart is key in the long term health of the heart.
Symptoms of a Heart Attack
Don’t assume that blood pressure is a reliable measurement of an actual heart attack, it isn’t. Blood pressure can be any level during a heart attack. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, especially multiple ones, you should call 9-1-1 immediately:
- A feeling of uncomfortable pressure, fullness, pain or squeezing in or near the center of your chest. It might last more than a few minutes but then goes away and then comes back.
- You might feel pain or some discomfort in one and / or both your arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- Cold sweat, nausea or even a feeling of being lightheaded.
Just like with men, the most common symptom for women is having chest pains or discomfort. The difference for women is that they are more likely to experience other symptoms than men. For women the most common additional symptoms are:
1. Shortness of breath
3. back or jaw pain
While the scenes that we have all seen of a man falling to the ground while clutching his chest is true for men, not so much for women.
The more common symptoms for women are:
1. experience shortness of breath
2. pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen
3. dizziness or feeling of being lightheaded
5. upper back pressure
6. extreme fatigue
Even though the symptoms are not as dramatic, the results can be just as deadly. This is especially true when the sufferer doesn’t seek medical attention immediately.
Women tend to ignore the symptoms and attribute them to things like the normal aging, the flu or acid reflux. This is even though heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S., striking someone every forty-three seconds!
Here are a few tips to help you prevent heart disease:
1. Schedule regular appointments with your personal physician.
2. Stop smoking or better yet, don’t ever start. This will reduce your chance of having heart disease by 50%.
3. Start exercising. At least 30 minutes of daily moderate exercise, i.e. walking, will knock your chances of having heart attack or stroke.
4. Change your diet.
Being proactive is much better than being reactive. Be sure and consult your personal physician before making any changes