Shocking

How A Woman Can Spot A Heart Attack Before It Happens

elyse_w Elyse Wanshel

A heart attack strikes someone about every 34 seconds, according to the American Heart Association.

Typically, we associate heart attacks with men, but did you know that heart disease is the number one killer or women?

The problem is that women feel different symptoms, or pain, than men and when they do experience these warning signs, they chalk them up to less life-threatening conditions like acid reflux, the flu, or aging.

“They do this because they are scared and because they put their families first,” said Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU’s Langone Medical Center and an American Heart Association volunteer. “There are still many women who are shocked that they could be having a heart attack.”

Below we have compiled the most common warning signs women feel when they are having or will soon have a heart attack — and many may surprise you.

If you are or know someone who is having any of these symptoms, you are urged to see a doctor. If the symptoms seem severe and immediate, take an aspirin and call 9-1-1…

Uncomfortable pressure in the center of the chest

Uncomfortable pressure in the center of the chest
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

These symptoms, which are often identified as “fullness” or “squeezing,” can range from slight to severe, and they may come and go. They are often more recognizable in men than women, according to Robert J Bryg, MD.

Unusual fatigue

Unusual fatigue
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

“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 for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU’s Langone Medical Center and an American Heart Association volunteer. For instance, if a woman feels unusual fatigue, in which it’s difficult to them to lift something, or even stand up, for no apparent reason (like exercise), then this is something worth noting.

Discomfort in seemingly unrelated areas

Discomfort in seemingly unrelated areas
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Believe it or not, uneasiness in areas such as the neck, arms, jaw, back, or stomach can be a very powerful indicator that something is not right, according to the American Heart Association. This is more common in women than men.

It feels like it’s all in your head…but it’s not

It feels like it’s all in your head…but it’s not
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

If you are experiencing lightheadedness, random cold sweat, and shortness of breath “as though you ran a marathon, but you haven’t made a move,”  you may want to consult a doctor as soon as possible, Goldberg advises. These are common signs amongst both men and women.

Nausea

Nausea
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Nausea and vomiting, along with shortness of breath and pain in the jaw or back, are some of the most common signs that women experience when a heart attack is looming, says the American Heart Association.

Indigestion

Indigestion
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Even though heart disease is the number one killer of women, women often think  symptoms like abdominal discomfort are due to less life-threatening conditions like indigestion, acid reflux, the flu, or normal aging, according to Goldberg.

An ache in the neck, shoulder, or upper back

An ache in the neck, shoulder, or upper back
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Though this is often described as an “ache,” discomfort in the neck, shoulder, or upper back (also described as “pressure” or “tightness”) is another warning sign — especially in women.

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