Did you know that February is American Heart Month? Organizations like Go Red for Women, the American Heart Association, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute and the CDC are teaming up to remind us that heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the United States–and yes, that includes women. In fact, more women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined. That’s why you need to know these four warning signs.
As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Here are the top four signs of a heart attack:
1. Chest Discomfort–Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
2. Discomfort In Other Areas--Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
3. Shortness of Breath–This can be with or without chest discomfort.
4. Cold Sweat, Nausea or Lightheadedness. Any or all of these symptoms should be reported to your doctor.
In addition, the warning signs for a stroke include:
– Sudden numbness or weakness in your face, arm or leg, especially on one side of your body.
– Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
– Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
– Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance.
– Sudden severe headache.
If you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1…Get to a hospital right away. And don’t underestimate these warning signs and think they are “just a little heart attack” like actress Elizabeth Banks did in this somewhat humorous but all-too-true-video: