February 13, 2013

A ‘little’ Heart Attack: Seriously?!

28 Days [of] Heart

Day 13

a ‘little’ heart attack

Let’s be clear: there is NO SUCH THING as a ‘little’ heart attack!

Heart disease is the #1 KILLER of women [and] with an estimated 43M women affected by heart disease, I would submit to you that it is high time we got busy reducing our risk, but also recognizing the symptoms of heart attack in women.

Symptoms of heart attack in women are quite different from what our male counterparts experience as a result women often don’t recognize the symptoms [or] downplay them such that they do not seek care.

The most common symptom of heart attack in women is PAIN of some sort in the chest whether tightness or discomfort; however, it is generally NOT as severe as it is in men nor is it the most prominent symptom.

To follow is a list of the MOST common symptoms of heart attack in women:

  • Neck, shoulder, upper back, or abdominal discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Unusual fatigue

Women tend to have heart disease in the smaller arteries that serve the heart in addition to the larger blockages, thus their symptoms are more subtle. Because their symptoms are so different, heart attack in women is often picked up after a significant amount of damage has been done to the heart muscle itself which potentially brings congestive heart failure into their lives.

Other contributing factors that affect women more so than men include:

  • Metabolic Syndrome: high blood pressure, high triglycerides, [and] high blood sugar
  • Depression/Chronic Stress
  • Smoking
  • Low Levels of estrogen following menopause [self-evident that this applies strictly to women]

BOTTOM LINE: ERR ON THE SIDE OF HEART ATTACK, Ladies.

Do NOT pass GO. Do NOT collect $200.

GO DIRECTLY TO THE EMERGENCY FOR EVALUATION.

Resources:

Cleveland Clinic Heart & Vascular Institute

Mayo Clinic

American Heart Association

Go! RED for Women

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