In their efforts take care of others, women often overlook or minimize the early signs of a heart attack. This is dangerous considering the survival rate is much lower for women who prolong treatment. It's important to know the warning signs of a heart attack. The warning signs, which can differ in men and women, can occur individually or at the same time:
- Flu-like symptoms. This includes nausea, light-headedness, cold-sweats.
- Chest discomfort. Discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes. It may feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. The discomfort can be mild or severe, and it may come and go.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. This includes one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. This symptom may occur along with or without chest discomfort.
It is easy to rationalize these symptoms away, but know that every second counts during a heart attack. Denial of a potential heart attack can cause serious long term damage to your heart and even death.
Pay attention to your body. Listen to what it is trying to tell you. If you experience the above listed symptoms, call 911 or go to the hospital's emergency room right away.