News and views from the award-winning author of the novels The Skinny Years, America Libre, House Divided and Pancho Land

Monday, April 5, 2010

Heart Attack Symptoms in Women

The sudden passing of a good friend last week underscored the importance of understanding the differences of heart attack symptoms in women. Because they are different from the well-known chest and left arm pain among males, female heart attack symptoms are often missed — and dismissed. In fact, when one female patient entered the emergency room with such symptoms, doctors gave her antacids. She said, “Listen, I'm diabetic and women's heart disease symptoms can be different, and unless you give me an EKG I'm not leaving this place.” The next day she had a bypass.

Some of the most common female heart attack symptoms are:

• shortness of breath (57.9%)

• weakness (54.8%)

• unusual fatigue (42.9%)

Women had other atypical heart attack symptoms, too:

nausea, dizziness, lower chest discomfort, upper abdominal pressure or discomfort that feels like indigestion, and upper back pain.

Often, women are unfamiliar with these atypical symptoms and blame them on heartburn or indigestion, arthritis, or stress, experts say. If they become short of breath with little exertion, they tell themselves they are out of shape, overworked, or fatigued.

Of course, stomach pain could prove to be nothing more than a bad case of gastrointestinal illness. And if your fear of heart problems turns out to be unfounded, don't sweat it. Doctors would much rather diagnose you with indigestion than a heart attack.

You’ll find more information at the link below. Please read it to protect yourself and the ones you love.