Do you know the signs & symptoms of a heart attack?


 


Every year, almost three-quarters of a million people have a heart attack – that’s about one every 43 seconds. About two-thirds of those attacks are first time episodes, and about a third are repeat occurrence. And one thing many people don’t know – about 1 of 5 heart attacks is silent. Damage occurs, but the person is not aware that the attack occurred.

The best thing that we can all do is to know common signs and symptoms of a heart attack so that we can get immediate help from 911 either for ourselves or for anyone around us suspected of heart failure. Time is of the essence and can be life-saving. The American Heart Association suggest that you should become familiar with where your closest area hospital with 24-hour cardiac emergency care is located and keep emergency phone numbers on your mobile phone and near your home phone.

Heart disease is often thought of as a man’s disease but that is far from the truth – heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., causing about 1 in every 4 deaths for both men and women.

However, men’s and women’s symptoms can sometimes differ.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the most common signs and symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
  • Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint.
  • Chest pain or discomfort.
  • Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder.
  • Shortness of breath.

But the CDC says that heart attack symptoms for women can differ: some women have no symptoms, others experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

What’s your risk?

Want to learn your risk? Try these interactive heart calculators.

The American Heart Association offers these tips to help in lowering your risk of a heart attack:

  • Don’t smoke, and avoid second-hand smoke.
  • Treat high blood pressure if you have it.
  • Eat foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium (salt) and added sugars.
  • Be physically active.
  • Reach and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Control your blood sugar if you have diabetes.
  • Get regular medical check-ups.
  • Take medicine as prescribed.

Learn more about heart attacks

The American Heart Association

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Medline Plus

Mayo Clinic

Do your heart good: try these heart health calculators


Heart health

February is Heart Health Month and the resounding theme is that simple changes can make a big difference. The CDC suggests:

  • Schedule a visit with your doctor to talk about heart health
  • Add exercise to your daily routine
  • Cook heart-healthy meals at home at least 3 times each week and make your favorite recipe lower sodium
  • Take steps to quit smoking
  • Take medication as prescribed

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. We’ve gathered some tools – a few of them interactive – that will help you focus on heart health!

calc

heart attack risk

blood pressure risk

Here are a few more useful heart-health tools:

First, it’s a good idea for everyone to know how to recognize signs of heart trouble – whether for yourself or a loved one, the earlier you get help, the better: Warning signs of a heart attack, stroke or cardiac arrest

Blood pressure: What do the numbers mean

Here’s a tool for tracking your blood pressure – Blood Pressure Wallet Card (PDF)

Questions to ask your doctor

More on men’s heart health and women’s heart health

How to show the women in your life a little love this week …


May 11-17 is National Women’s Health Week, an observance led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. While there are many important health issues, a key focus of should always be on heart health. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women and nearly one in three American women have high blood pressure. Why not show a little love for your mom, your wife, your sisters or your women friends by encouraging them to schedule a Well Woman visit to get a checkup and to learn more about heart risk? For more on women and heart disease, check out The Heart Truth, a program of the National Institutes of Health. There are many great resources and tools available – why not share some of these important messages and excellent materials with the women in your lives – and also on social media!

10 Years of @TheHeartTruth: Celebrating a Decade of Inspiring Women to Protect their Hearts.