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"Just a Little Heart Attack"

February is Heart Health Month.  Do you know the symptoms of a heart attack in women are often different than the syptoms in men?

When I was in grad school, one of my fellow students did her thesis on heart attacks in women.  She went to several hospitals and audited their charts to look at all the women who were diagnosed with having a heart attack and what symptoms they had experienced that brought them to the Emergency Department.  NONE complained of chest pain.  Not. A. Single. One.  That was mind-blowing twenty years ago.  The symptoms of a heart attack for women are different than those of men.  And while it's more acknowledged in the medical community now, the public is still not aware of it.


Here are the six major warning signs of a heart attack for women:

  1. Pain or discomfort in the chest.  It may not feel like pain.  It may be a discomfort, squeezing, fullness.  And it’s not only occurring on the left side.
  2. Pain in your arm(s), back, neck, or jaw.
  3. Stomach pain.  It may feel like heartburn or the flu, or pressure like an elephant sitting on your stomach.
  4. Shortness of breath, nausea, or lightheaded.  It may feel like you can’t get a deep breath, or having trouble breathing for no apparent reason.
  5. Sweating.  Breaking out in a nervous or cold sweat is a common symptom in women.
  6. Fatigue.  Feeling extremely tired even if they’ve been sitting still is a common symptom.

Not everyone gets every symptom.  If you have discomfort of the chest, especially with one or more of the other symptoms, call 911.


And to drive my point home, here is a comical, but very accurate, portrayal of a woman who is experiencing symptoms of a heart attack…



Posted by Karole Beck at 2/27/2017 9:59:00 PM
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