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P1215 Women and Heart Disease

Some experts suggest that hormonal changes associated with aging or inflammation may explain why women’s smaller blood vessels develop this unique disease process. The stage for heart disease is set before menopause by factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, extra weight (especially around the waist) and smoking—all factors that play a part in plaque buildup. Warning signs of heart attack The most common symptom of heart attack in men and women is chest pain. However, women are more likely to have “nonclassic” heart attack symptoms than men. Still, doctors note, unexplained jaw, shoulder, back, or arm pain can also signal a man’s heart attack even when the classic crushing chest pain is absent. These are the most common warning signals for heart attack: 77 Pain or discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back 77 Chest discomfort with sweating 77 Pain that spreads from the chest to the arm, neck or jaw 77 Shortness of breath, tiredness (especially from exertion) or upset stomach; these are particularly common in women If you are at risk for heart disease and have any of these symptoms, seek medical attention, up to and including calling 911, immediately. Do not attempt to drive yourself to the hospital. If you think you’re having a heart attack, call 911 and crush or chew a full-strength aspirin (swallow with a glass of water) to prevent further blood clotting. Time is a crucial factor in a heart attack because the longer the blockage remains untreated, the more heart muscle will die. Also, drugs that break down blockage in the arteries (thrombolytic therapy) must be given within the first few hours. PLAY VIDEO 911-Make the Call LEARNING CHECK Take a short quiz on what you’ve learned so far. Warning Signs of a Heart Attack In the U.S., heart disease kills more women than any other health condition. Unfortunately, women may fail to recognize that their symptoms could indicate a heart attack. These are considered the “classic” symptoms of heart attack ■■ Sudden, intense chest pain ■■ Pain or discomfort in the stomach, one or both arms, back, shoulder, neck or jaw ■■ Shortness of breath ■■ Sweating (often a cold, clammy sweat), nausea or lightheadedness Women often experience different, “non-classic” symptoms of heart attack: ■■ Mild chest discomfort, pressure, squeezing, tightness or fullness ■■ Weakness ■■ Unusual fatigue ■■ Sleep disturbances ■■ Indigestion, nausea or vomiting ■■ Anxiety Call 911 or another local emergency service immediately if you experience any of these symptoms. Receiving treatment for a heart attack within one hour may mean the difference between life and death. © 2018 WomenHeart, ABC, CardioSmart, and StayWel . All rights reserved. If you think you are having a heart attack, crush or chew a full-strength aspirin (swallow with a glass of water) to prevent further blood clotting. Warning Signs of a Heart Attack Download/print this PDF ➠ abcardio.org 7


P1215 Women and Heart Disease
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