Women Have Hard-to-Recognize Heart Attack Symptoms-Environmental Health & Safety - Carnegie Mellon University

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Women Have Hard-to-Recognize Heart Attack Symptoms

Did you know heart disease is the number one killer of women?
In many a movie we see men having the well-known heart attack symptoms, clutching their chests in agony.  But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience other symptoms.
“Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure.” said Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director NYU’s medical center.
Women may experience the following symptoms:
1.    Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest.
2.    Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
3.    Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
4.    Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
5.    Chest pain or discomfort.
6.    Extreme fatigue.
If you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.
Take care of yourself.
Heart disease is preventable. Here are Goldberg’s top tips:
•    Quit smoking. Did you know that just one year after you quit, you’ll cut your risk of coronary heart disease by 50 percent?
•    Start an exercise program. Just walking 30 minutes a day can lower your risk for heart attack.
•    Modify your family’s diet.
Go to American Heart Association’s website and learn your risk with the Heart Association’s Heart Attack Risk Calculator at http://tinyurl.com/4f6ttmv.

Source: The American Heart Association

By: Madelyn Miller, mmiller@andrew.cmu.edu, 412-268-1377