Have you ever wondered how you could tell if someone you love is having a heart attack? Are the symptoms different for men and women or are they the same? Well, here are some symptoms to look for:
Chest pain – This discomfort or pain can feel like a tight ache, pressure, fullness or squeezing in the center of your chest lasting more than a few minutes. This discomfort may come and go.
Upper body pain – Pain or discomfort may spread beyond your chest to your shoulders, arms, back, neck, teeth or jaw. You may have upper body pain with no chest discomfort.
Stomach pain – Pain may extend downward into your abdominal area and may feel like heartburn.
Shortness of breath – You may pant for breath or try to take in deep breaths. This often occurs before you develop chest discomfort or you may not experience any chest discomfort.
Anxiety – You may feel a sense of doom or feel as if you’re having a panic attack for no apparent reason.
Lightheadedness – In addition to chest pressure, you may feel dizzy or feel like you might pass out.
Sweating – You may suddenly break into a sweat with cold, clammy skin.
Nausea or vomiting – You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.
If any of the above symptoms occur and last for 5 minutes, go to the hospital for treatment.
Are there differences in symptoms between men and women? Sometimes. “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,” according to 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. “Instead they may experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue.”
If you have had a heart attack and would like to know how you can prevent another one, the YWCA offers a HeartBeat program at the Ottawa Street location. To find out how this program can help you, call 905-522-9922 ext 226 or check out the HeartBeat program at www.ywcahamilton.org under Programs and Services.
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