It’s National Wear Red Day, making the 10th year of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, dedicated to raising awareness of heart disease’s devastating impact on women.
Ultimately, women at any age need to know the signs of a heart attack and demand proper care if they think they may be having one. If you have risk factors for a heart attack, no matter whether you are in your 20s or 30s or 40s, and you feel you are experiencing a heart attack, don’t allow the doctor to dismiss your symptoms as indigestion or anxiety. Tell them you want to be tested. If you don’t, the consequences could be deadly. Simply asking for an EKG can help to show doctors.
“Lack of awareness of women’s warning signs—and not getting health care soon enough—are major reasons why heart attacks kill more women than men every year. In fact, 50 percent of women who suffer a heart attack don’t call 911. But doing so if any of these symptoms strike could save your life:”
- Shortness of breath. During a heart attack, or in some cases, days or even months preceding the attack, many women report gasping as if they’d just run a marathon or having trouble talking, one study reported.
- Non-chest pain. Instead of an explosive pain in the chest, women may develop less severe pain in the upper back, shoulders, neck, jaw, or arm.
- Unusual fatigue. In one study of female heart attack survivors, 71 percent experienced unusual fatigue in the days and weeks before the attack—often so extreme that the women were too fatigued to make their bed, lift a laptop, or walk to the mailbox.
- Heavy sweating. Women may be suddenly drenched with sweat for no apparent reason or feel both hot and chilled, with clammy skin.
- Nausea or dizziness. During an attack, women frequently vomit or feel like they’re going to faint.
- Fluttering. Rapid heartbeats.
- Edema. Swelling, particularly of the ankles or lower legs.
- Heavy fullness. Also may include pressure-like chest pain between breasts and radiating to left arm or shoulder.