National Heart Month occurs each February, recognizing that the heart is a vital organ worth protecting.
Along with eating heart-healthy foods and getting proper exercise, it’s critical to understand if your heart is at risk of something more serious, like a heart attack. Did you know males and females experience vastly different heart attack symptoms? Knowing the signs can be the difference between life or death.
Heart Attack Symptoms in Women
When we think of a heart attack, it’s natural to think of an immediate tightening or pain in the chest. Many women, however, won’t even feel chest pain. It’s likely a woman won’t realize she is having a heart attack at all.
The very first symptom is new or dramatic fatigue. Not the normal tiredness you feel after working or caring for your kids all day – but experiencing a feeling of fatigue and heaviness after completing just a simple activity.
Another initial symptom is the feeling of something large stuck in your throat, causing shortness of breath. This is usually followed by pain shooting up into your spine and traveling straight through the abdomen and lower chest, causing extreme back or jaw pain.
What You Should Do
If these symptoms flare up, it’s critical to stay calm and call 911 immediately. If you are alone, get as close to your front door as possible in case you lose consciousness before responders arrive.
Live Heart Healthy
Awareness and education are critical components in understanding the vital signs of cardiac disease and distress. Dignity Health Central Coast hospitals, including Arroyo Grande Community Hospital, French Hospital Medical Center, and Marian Regional Medical Center, offer a free, online assessment to give you an idea of your own cardiac health and what steps you may need to take to become heart healthy. You can find the assessment here.
Follow your heart to French Hospital Medical Center’s Copeland, Forbes and Rossi Cardiac Care Center in San Luis Obispo. The advanced heart center offers an award-winning cardiac program that includes an advanced surgical suite, a chest pain center, STEMI designation, a cardiac rehabilitation program, and electrophysiology services, mitigating the need to travel for progressive cardiac care. Take the time to care for your heart and the loved ones it belongs to. Learn more about French Hospital Medical Center’s cardiac programs and services here.