Most heart attacks start slowly with mild pain and discomfort. Don’t discount them and assume they are caused by something else.
By: Natasha Morgan
In February you might see many more women wearing red. They are likely promoting the American Heart Association’s “Go Red For Women” month. Although, heart disease is a debilitating condition that can attack anytime throughout the year, this month has been selected to increase its awareness to women.
The symptoms of a heart attack in women can be different than those for men which might be why women can take from two to four hours longer to respond to their symptoms. When they finally get to the hospital, some medical professionals have been slow to recognize a heart attack in women and delay treatment. This obviously has a serious impact on the lives of many women.
So, let’s review the heart attack symptoms experienced by women:
1. Most heart attacks start slowly with mild pain and discomfort. Don’t discount them and assume they are caused by something else.
2. Discomfort, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes is the most common symptom.
3. Experiencing pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach should be a big wake-up call for women.
4. Should you start to feel lightheaded, break out in a cold sweat or feel nauseous, pay attention as this might also be a warning.
5. Something as simple as shortness of breath even without any other symptoms can be an indicator that something serious is going on.
As in a heart attack, a severe stroke can cause long lasting, permanent damage that affects your lifestyle. If you experience any of the following warning signs, get to a hospital immediately:
1. Your face, arm or leg suddenly feels weak or numb, usually on one side of the body.
2. You feel confused or have difficulty forming words.
3. You feel dizzy and lose your balance.
4. You may have trouble walking and feel you’ve lost your coordination.
5. Your eyesight is affected as you suddenly can’t see.
6. You get a severe headache for no reason.
Whether you experience a heart attack or a stroke, the key to optimal recovery is how soon you get medical treatment. By calling 911, an ambulance can be at your door quickly. Paramedics are trained to stabilize your condition but physicians and hospital equipment are needed to treat your heart attack and stroke.
Note: This article is written to bring awareness to heart disease. For medical advice please contact your physician and for more information visit the American Heart Association and American Stoke Association.
For more information on strokes, visit Comprensive Stroke Resource Guide.