Do you know the different signs for a heart attack?
Women and men are not only Venus and Mars in matters of the heart — love and relationships — they also differ when it comes to the physical heart, as in heart disease.
According to the American Heart Association, a heart attack strikes someone about every 43 seconds. A heart attack occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This happens because the arteries that supply the heart with blood can slowly narrow from a buildup of fat, cholesterol, and other substances (plaque).
Heart attacks are often thought of as a man’s disease; think of all the film scenes you’ve seen when a man clutches his chest in pain and falls to the ground. However, recent studies have shown that heart disease is the number one killer of women, and the symptoms for women may not include chest pain.
February is American Heart Association Month and the perfect time to show the ones you love how much you care for them by learning how to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack … for both men and women.
Heart Attack Symptoms in Men vs. Women
When men have a heart attack, they tend to experience classic symptoms, including:
- Chest pain and pressure
- Shortness of breath
- Discomfort in the arms, shoulders or neck
As with men, the most common heart attack symptom in women is chest pain. But not all women have chest pain and many may not even realize they are having a heart attack. According to the American Heart Association, some women even chalk up what they are experiencing to flu symptoms. Women are more likely than men to have other, less obvious symptoms, including:
- 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.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
The problem is that people expect the classic chest pain, but when that does not happen, they may delay calling an ambulance. Remember, every minute counts during a heart attack, and any hesitation you may have to call an ambulance could make a difference between life and death.
If you experience any of these symptoms or see someone experiencing these symptoms, don’t delay: Call 9-1-1.