Heart and Vascular Care
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You woke up this morning not feeling well, but who has time to be sick?
You can’t let a bit of nausea, dizziness, and fatigue slow you down, right? You figure you’re probably not getting enough sleep. So you take an antacid and a couple of ibuprofen then head out the door, figuring that this too shall pass.
Only it doesn’t.
Instead, you later find yourself in the emergency room, being treated for a heart attack.
Heart attack symptoms in women
While some of the signs of a heart attack are unmistakable—think “elephant sitting on someone’s chest,” the symptoms in women can be subtler.
“Women’s heart attack symptoms can be the same or different from men’s, but they’re often more atypical—less pain, more pressure, or discomfort,” says Cardiologist Dr. Harvey Hahn.
The most common heart attack symptom, regardless of gender, is chest pain or discomfort. But women may also experience
- Shortness of breath, with or without chest pressure
- Nausea, vomiting, or lightheadedness
- A cold sweat
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms as well as the back, jaw, neck, or stomach
- Indigestion or gas-like pain
“What we recommend is that if anything feels ‘different’ from your ‘nose to your navel,’ you should get it checked out,” explains Dr. Hahn. “That includes jaw, neck, shoulder, arm, chest, upper belly symptoms.”
Risk factors for women
Although several traditional risk factors—high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity—affect both men and women, other factors play a larger role in heart disease in women:
- Stress and depression
The good news is that heart disease is preventable.
Dr. Hahn advises the following:
- Quit smoking: Stopping smoking will have a bigger impact on your health than any medicine.
- Get moving: Just 15 minutes daily can lower your heart disease and stroke risk.
- Eat better: You don’t have to focus on what to avoid. Try to eat more of the good stuff, such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts not coated in sugar or salt.
Don’t ignore heart attack symptoms.Find an emergency center
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