Signs of a Heart Attack

What are the signs of a heart attack?  Many people describe the feeling as a “elephant sitting on my chest.”  Often that sensation is described as more of a heavy feeling than a sharp pain.  It can be anywhere in the chest, but the classic location is the left side of the chest, with typical radiation down the left arm to the elbow.  It is usually accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating (diaphoresis), and nausea.  Quick recognition of these symptoms can make a big difference in treatment and outcome.

We all know that men and women are different.  The way heart disease and heart-related chest pain (angina) presents itself in women is no exception.  Women can present with the same “classic” symptoms of chest pain, but often their presentation can be more subtle.  They may present with shortness of breath, decreased energy level, fatigue, nausea, or even abdominal or back pain.

While the presentations can be different, there are several common factors to both men and women.    Heart disease remains the number one killer of ALL Americans…men and women.  Risk factors for development of heart disease include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and family history.  February is Heart Disease Awareness month.  See your healthcare provider for a personalized heart disease risk assessment.

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