Signs of a heart attack

How To Know If You're Having a Heart Attack

Heart Health Month may be coming to a close, but heart attacks can happen any day, at any time. So it’s so important to learn what the signs of a heart attack are and keep them fresh in your mind.

A heart attack happens when the blood flow is blocked to part of the heart, often by a blood clot.signs of a heart attack

What we often see on TV or in movies is a man clutching at his chest and falling to the ground. That’s what our society has come to believe is a heart attack. But that’s not the whole story.

In fact, women and men can have completely different signs when a heart attack strikes.

That’s why it’s vital to know what to expect in the case that you or someone close to you starts showing the symptoms of a cardiac event.

Signs of a heart attack in women

Chest pain or discomfort is a pretty common symptom of a heart attack in women. They might feel squeezing or pressure of fullness in the center of their chest. It can even go away and come back.

But that’s not the whole story.

signs of a heart attackJaw pain could signify that a woman is having a heart attack. She may also feel pain in her arms, stomach, back or even a toothache.

She may feel shortness of breath even if she doesn’t have any pain or discomfort in her chest.

Extreme fatigue could set in, she might break out in a cold sweat or she might experience nausea and vomiting, dizziness or fainting.

Many of the symptoms of a heart attack in women are not what we think of as signs of a heart attack.

This misinformation poses a real problem because a woman might instead think she’s got the flu or acid reflux. She doesn’t realize she’s facing a life-threatening issue.

Signs of a heart attack in men

Hollywood has been a bit more helpful for depicting accurate signs of a heart attack in men.signs of a heart attack

A man may feel any of these symptoms:

  • Discomfort in his chest – so much so that he feels like an elephant has taken a seat on top of him
  • Acute pain in his left arm, his shoulder, his back, throat or jaw
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, and shortness of breath
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats
  • Nausea or stomach pain and other flu-like symptoms
  • Indigestion or heartburn

He might even break into a cold sweat and feel a wave of anxiety wash over him.

But beware: nearly half of all heart attacks are silent. The symptoms are so subtle that men and women don’t even realize they’re having a heart attack.

What you can do to be heart healthy

signs of a heart attackYour diet can have a direct impact on your heart health. Making sure you eat foods that are anti-inflammatory like those found in the Mediterranean diet and the Paleo diet can help significantly.

Adding an exercise routine to your life can also have a positive result for your heart health. Walking, running, even swimming 30 minutes a day a few times a week can make a difference.

Read more about living a heart-healthy lifestyle here.

Easy lifestyle changes can set you up for a hearty success.

To your health,

Dr. Laura

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The content on heartroothealth.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.