Nausea or vomiting. Unusual fatigue. Back or jaw pain. It’s easy
to chalk these symptoms up to the flu or a stressful day at work. But
women be warned: They are some of the less-recognizable signs of a heart attack.
“While extreme chest pain is the classic textbook symptom of a heart
attack for both sexes, women can experience a heart attack without chest
pressure. They can have subtle symptoms,” BCH cardiologist
Molly Ware, MD, told a crowd of nearly 175 people during a free health lecture held on
Tuesday, Feb. 5, in Boulder.
"The danger is that women tend to minimize the ambiguous warning signs
and delay care," she said. However, getting treatment right away
is critical to surviving a heart attack.
Heart Attack With No Chest Pain More Likely in Women
Even though both sexes can experience these vague symptoms of a heart attack,
women are more likely to have them:
- Shortness of breath
- Jaw, neck, arm or back pain
- Unusual sweating
- Extreme fatigue, weakness
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Trouble sleeping, a sense of dread
These symptoms can occur during rest or be triggered by an event such as
physical activity, extreme mental stress or even a fatty meal. If you
experience any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Lifestyle Changes That Can Reduce Your Risk
Dr. Ware said it’s critical to
keep track of your health numbers and be aware of your
risk factors for heart disease.
Also, by living a heart-healthy lifestyle women can significantly decrease
their risk of heart attack. Here are some of the important actions they can take:
- Getting regular exercise
- Controlling cholesterol & blood pressure
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Reducing blood sugar
- Smoking cessation
- Improving eating habits
“Eating a varied diet that's rich in lean protein, whole grains,
good fats, fruits and vegetables is the best way to protect your heart,”
Dr. Ware said. “Cut back on added sugar and animal fats such as
red meat and whole fat dairy.”
Nearly 400,000 women die each year from heart disease – killing about
one woman every minute. If you wish to understand your risk factors for
heart disease or to be screened, schedule an appointment with a physician
at Boulder Heart by calling (303) 442-2395.
Click here to view PowerPoint slides from Dr. Ware's lecture on "Battling
Heart Disease in Women."
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