We’ve all seen the exaggerated symptoms of a heart attack. Everything is fine until someone clutches their chest and falls to the ground. In most cases of heart attacks, that’s exactly what it is, an exaggeration. Symptoms of a heart attack are usually more subtle, especially in women, and can sometimes go undetected until further irreversible damage is done.
Excessive Fatigue – This type of fatigue goes beyond feeling tired and a bit lazy. Patients will complain they can’t do simple tasks like walk to the bathroom or be able to eat a meal. It can feel like your chest is simply feeling too lazy to work. The sensation isn’t particularly painful but is very telling of other, more painful symptoms to come.
Stomach Pains – It may feel like excessive heartburn, the flu, or even a stomach ulcer. The pains may also be associated with nausea, which can make it especially difficult to differentiate between general sickness and something more serious. If you feel like an elephant is sitting on your abdomen, take a moment to evaluate if you’ve having other associated symptoms.
Neck, Jaw, and Back Pain – A common symptom of heart disease in men is pain in the left arm. For women in particular, pain can be in either arm, but can also originate in the chest and move through the back, neck, and jaw. This pain can be sudden, without physical exertion, and often times can be so intense that it has the capability of waking you up at night. If you find that you have jaw and neck pain that worsens during physical exertion and stops when you’re done exercising, make an appointment with a physician to have it checked out.
Excessive Sweating and Shortness of Breath – This will often feel like a nervous, stress-related cold sweat — different from the way you sweat after a workout or sitting in the heat. During these episodes, you might also feel shortness of breath, similar to those who experience panic attacks. If you have never experienced these symptoms before, and seem to come out of nowhere, it’s important to have them checked as soon as you can.
Ways To Reduce Your Risk:
- First and foremost, if you are a smoker, STOP. You will cut your risk of coronary heart disease by up to 50% just one year after quitting.
- Take 30 minutes a day to do your favorite workout. Something as simple as a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood will cut your risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Discuss ways to cut your risk with a medical professional, especially if you have a family history of heart disease.
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to trust your gut. If you feel any combination of symptoms and believe you might be having a heart attack, call 911. For more information, visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org.Leave a reply →