Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, not only in the United States, but also worldwide. However, women often experience symptoms that they may not associate with heart disease, thereby not realizing they’re in imminent danger of having a heart attack. If you experience any of the symptoms listed below, even if mild, you should call your doctor. Half of all heart attacks are preceded by symptoms, sometimes days ahead of time.
Fatigue—This is not the fatigue that accompanies a sleepless or restless night. It’s fatigue and/or weakness that occurs even when you haven’t exerted yourself, and it can manifest weeks prior to a heart attack.
Dizziness—Heart attacks can reduce the flow of blood to the heart and brain, resulting in feelings of light-headedness.
Shortness of breath—If you awaken short of breath, or you feel like you just ran up a flight of stairs when you haven’t exerted yourself, this can be an indicator of heart problems. Also, if you suddenly find your normal exercise regime seems harder than normal.
Upper body pain—Because the heart muscle doesn’t have many nerve endings, it will share nerve pathways. Pain that radiates into your jaw, neck, arms, shoulders, or back should be taken seriously.
Sweating—Breaking out in a cold sweat or excessive sweating is never a good sign, unless there’s a reason for it, like going through menopause or partaking in strenuous exercise.
Nausea—In women, especially, heart attacks often cause nausea. If you have sudden, constant nausea and can’t attribute it to something you recently ate, call your doctor.