According to recent statistics, approximately 35% of American women are obese, and even more are overweight. With these weight issues comes something far worse than muffin top — the increased risk of a heart attack. But since the symptoms of a heart attack are often different for women than they are for men, heart attacks can be misdiagnosed, or even overlooked. Even women who aren’t overweight, and who are fit, can be at risk of heart attacks, especially if they smoke or have a family history of heart disease. So it’s important to educate yourself, so you know the symptoms, and can get treatment immediately if you think you might be having a heart attack! Here are 8 warming signs of a heart attack… you can be experiencing one of them, or any combination of them…
1. Shortness of Breath
Unlike men, who often complain of severe chest pain during or before a heart attack, women most often simply feel very short of breath, and may even mistake a heart attack for an asthma attack.
A feeling of dizziness, light-headedness, or vertigo is another symptom of a heart attack that women commonly report.
3. Crushed Feeling
This warning sign of a heart attack is often described hand-in-hand with the shortness of breath — women and men alike often say they feel like something heavy is crushing their chest. Since the two together are so often reported in the ER when someone’s having a heart attack, seek immediate medical attention if you ever experience these symptoms!
4. Numbness or Tingling
Men often report that they felt a numbness of tingling sensation on their left side, in particular in their left shoulder or arm, just before a heart attack, and this is common among women, too. This numbness or tingling on its own may not indicate anything serious, but if you’re experiencing it along with any of the other symptoms, it may mean trouble.
5. Chest Pain
Chest pain, also called angina (an-JI-nuh), is a very clear symptom of an impending heart attack, and though it’s often reported by men, it’s less often experienced by women. Still, if you are experiencing sharp or severe chest pain, you could seek medical attention as soon as possible.
This is another vague symptom most women experience when they are having a heart attack, but it’s such a common complaint, it’s often overlooked by doctors in the ER. If you’re feeling fatigued, especially in combination with any of the other symptoms, don’t let the doctor send you home as an exhausted, stressed, or depressed person. Request, or demand, a heart check!
7. Profuse Sweating
While this symptom is most often reported by men, women may also experience this warning sign of a heart attack, especially in combination with the fatigue and shortness of breath. If you look or feel “pasty,” get help right away.
This is such a common symptom, and can be caused by so many ailments, it’s not often thought of as a symptom of a heart attack, but it certainly can be, especially when combined with any of the others. A feeling of sudden nausea, unexplained, can be the first warning sign of a heart attack for men and women alike.
9. Jaw Pain
I know this sounds unusual, but a significant number of women complain of pain in their necks or jaws before or during a heart attack. I know that when I’m nauseas, I also get a pain in my jaw… but these two combined, if unusual for you, may signal heart trouble.
If you’re having any of these symptoms, especially a few at the same time, get help NOW. And don’t let a snarky, rushed ER doctor send you home until you know he’s checked you out to make sure you’re not having a heart attack! Some women have been sent home as depressed or over-stressed, when they really were having a heart attack! Have you got any other tips, advice, or symptoms of a heart attack to share with me, and the other readers? Please let me know… this is so important!
Top Photo Credit: the daily circus