Symptoms of heart attacks in women

Published On: Jul 16 2012 02:08:09 PM EDT
Updated On: Aug 01 2012 12:35:05 PM EDT

By Tracey, Pure Matters

Many organizations and women’s groups are banding together to help teach women the signs and symptoms of heart disease.

Go Red for Women, an American Heart Association initiative, joined forces with actress Elizabeth Banks to help get the message out. Together they produced a short film: ‘Just a Little Heart Attack.’ Banks directed and starred, and almost half a million people have viewed the entertaining and informative video.

The concept is simple: many women aren’t aware of heart attack symptoms and many times, ignore them because they’re “too busy” to deal with it. Banks plays a Supermom who tries to ignore the obvious signs that she’s suffering a heart attack.

Here’s a formal list of heart attack symptoms per the National Institute of Health:

  • Chest pain or discomfort. This involves uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center or left side of the chest that can be mild or strong. This discomfort or pain often lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
  • Upper body discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach.
  • Shortness of breath, which may occur with or before chest discomfort.
  • Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), vomiting, light-headedness or sudden dizziness, or breaking out in a cold sweat.

Symptoms also may include sleep problems, fatigue (tiredness), and lack of energy.

***If you experience these symptoms, call 911 immediately. The sobering truth is about 1.2 million people in the U.S. suffer heart attacks each year and many die. But many more could have survived if they got help faster. Do not postpone getting medical attention if you experience these symptoms.

Heart disease affects women of all ages -- including young women in their 20s and 30s. Implementing heart-healthy habits can help reduce your chances of getting heart disease.

Here are just a few ways you can help lower your risk of heart disease:

  • Stop smoking: It increases your risk for heart disease, strokes, and other preventable diseases.
  • Drink in moderation: if you drink too much alcohol, your blood pressure can go up and put you at risk for heart failure and a stroke.
  • Know your numbers: Living a healthy life includes staying on top of your cholesterol, BMI, blood pressure and glucose numbers.
  • Stay active: Not only will exercise boost your energy level, it’s also excellent for your heart.
  • Eat a balanced diet: Pick foods low in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars.

Now that you’re up to speed on heart disease, help spread the word. Share the Go Red for Women video and remind your friends and family about the signs and symptoms of a heart attack -- and what to do should they experience them.

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