November 26th, 2013

In remembrance year 6: Know the signs


Dorothy Irene
4/26/24 – 11/24/98

(yours truly in the 1970s culturally inappropriate Indian attire, with a wink and a smile to David Hale)

Heart Attack Signs for Women

This is my yearly post to increase awareness of the signs of a heart attack which is still the #1 killer for women. It’s not merely #1, it leaves deaths from all cancers combined for women in the dust (infographic excerpt source)

Although much progress has been made since I was making funeral arrangements for instead of getting ready to celebrate with my grandma this Tuesday before Thanksgiving 15 years ago (the original post and story) I know more can be done.

Please make sure your family and friends know these important signs of a heart attack. Never disregard them as indigestion, the flu, or make a doctor appointment for later in the day when it’s more convenient for everyone else. It was too late for my Grandma by the time she saw her doctor – she died within hours despite every effort made to save her after being rushed to the emergency room. (Source of signs from Go Red for Women)

  1. 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.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. 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.

If you have any of these signs, don’t wait longer than five minutes before calling 9-1-1 for help. Also know what your heart attack risk factors are such as high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking and high blood pressure in addition to family history.

Under 55 and think heart attacks aren’t possible for you? Think again. It is taking medical research a while but they are learning more about why heart attacks in women under 55 are often deadlier than they are for those who are older – possibly due to being linked to blood clots instead of plaque buildup in arteries (source)

In younger women, instead of chest pains, the symptoms of heart attack may include more generalized pain in different parts of the body, including the jaw, neck, shoulder, back and even stomach. Recognizing that younger women may be less likely to present with the typical chest pains of a heart attack could help more of these patients to get the treatment they need in a more timely manner

Thank you for taking the time to read this and spread the word this Thanksgiving!

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