Odds are, you likely know someone close to you that has suffered a heart attack. It is the number one killer of men and women in America. Like cancer, heart disease doesn’t always make sense. Someone on the cusp of crossing the finish line at a marathon could be just as much at risk as someone who is inactive and eats unhealthy. Heart attacks can be sneaky. Their symptoms differ in men and women. It is important that we know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, and what to do in the event we think someone, or ourselves are suffering.
We have all seen heart attacks on TV, a person suddenly gets overtaken with a crushing pain to the chest, grabs said chest and maybe collapses or yells for help. Over the years, we have been warned to watch for pain in the arm that travels into the neck and chest. And yes, many will have this type of experience. But many, especially women, will not. Women can experience a cardiac event much differently, and also wait to respond to it, putting them more at risk of death. A heart attack can present with flu-like symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, or weakness. Sometimes, they may have pains in the lower torso, so it can be mistaken for a stomach issue.
Another problem interfering with surviving heart attacks is how we are reacting to them. Men, in general, tend to seek treatment earlier. Since they are more likely to have episodes earlier in life, they usually survive and live longer. Women are more likely to have attacks later in life and die from them. Women are also more likely to put off getting treatment. Research shows they put off asking for help for up to 54 hours! If you think you are having a cardiac event, or you just don’t feel right, go with your gut. Don’t waste time googling symptoms, call 911. Don’t drive. An ambulance has all the equipment that could save your life. The ambulance can alert the hospital you are coming, thus getting them prepared and ready to help immediately.
Prevention is always the best practice to living a long healthy life. Talk to your doctor to assess your risk and see what you can do to prevent heart disease for yourself or someone you love. Eat a healthy diet, quit smoking if you do, and get moving a little everyday. For more information, check out: www.heart.org.
Keep checking back monthly for tips to help you live your healthiest life.
In health, Angela