We go red for Valentine's Day, but this year go red all month long in an effort to protect your heart. Diane Harper joined us with ways to keep your heart healthy and pumping for years to come.
These six heart attack symptoms are common in women:
1. Chest pain or discomfort. Chest pain is the most common heart attack symptom, but some women may experience it differently than men. It may feel like a squeezing or fullness, and the pain can be anywhere in the chest, not just on the left side. It's usually "truly uncomfortable" during a heart attack, It feels like a vise being tightened.
2. Pain in your arm(s), back, neck, or jaw. This type of pain is more common in women than in men. It may confuse women who expect their pain to be focused on their chest and left arm, not their back or jaw. The pain can be gradual or sudden, and it may wax and wane before becoming intense. If you're asleep, it may wake you up. You should report any "not typical or unexplained" symptoms in any part of your body above your waist to your doctor or other health care provider,
3. Stomach pain. Sometimes people mistake stomach pain that signals a heart attack with heartburn, the flu, or a stomach ulcer. Other times, women experience severe abdominal pressure that feels like an elephant sitting on your stomach
4. Shortness of breath, nausea, or lightheadedness. If you're having trouble breathing for no apparent reason, you could be having a heart attack, especially if you're also having one or more other symptoms. It can feel like you have run a marathon, but you didn't make a move.
5. Sweating. Breaking out in a nervous, cold sweat is common among women who are having a heart attack. It will feel more like stress-related sweating than perspiration from exercising or spending time outside in the heat.
6. Fatigue. Some women who have heart attacks feel extremely tired, even if they've been sitting still for a while or haven't moved much. Patients often complain of tiredness in the chest. They say that they can't do simple activities, like walk to the bathroom.
Not everyone gets all of those symptoms. If you have chest discomfort, especially if you also have one or more of the other signs, call 911 immediately.
What NOT to do if you feel heart attack symptoms:
· Don't delay getting help. Women generally wait longer than men before going to the emergency room. Even if you think your symptoms aren't that bad or will pass, the stakes are too high.
· Don't drive yourself to the hospital. You need an ambulance. If you drive, you could have a wreck on the way and possibly hurt yourself or someone else.
· Don't have a friend or relative drive you, either. You may not get there fast enough.
· Don't dismiss what you feel. Don't worry about feeling silly if you're wrong, You have to get it checked out right away.