The heart attack symptoms EVERY woman needs to know – as woman's tweet about signs goes viral
One woman is warning all others to be aware of what a heart attack feels like after she almost died earlier this month.
Posting on Twitter under the name gwheezie the nurse told of how she had a 95 per cent blockage in her heart, but never had chest pains.
"The pain ran across my upper back, shoulder blades and equally down both arms," she wrote.
"It felt like burning and aching.
"I actually thought it was muscle strain. It wasn’t until I broke into drenching sweat and started vomiting that I called 911."
She said she had spent the week helping her neighbour clean out her barn, so assumed the pain was down to a muscle strain and nothing more.
She decided to take pain killers and put a heat pack on her shoulder to ease the pain – but she could have died because she didn't recognise it was actually chest pain.
"The day before my heart attack I drove six hours to help my mother who lives in another state," she continued.
"I thought I should go to a doctor but I had to help my mom who is 90 and I’d just tough it out because it wasn’t real bad.
"I was lucky, I had no idea what hospital to go to, the female medics who picked me up took me to a hospital that does cardiac catheters, I had four stents placed an hour after I got to the ER that was Sunday."
She was discharged four days later.
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It comes as a timely reminder that heart attack symptoms can be different in women, compared to the symptoms we are always warned about.
According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF) heart attacks kill more women than breast cancer each year – yet heart disease is still considered a "man's disease".
There are over 900,000 women in the UK living with coronary heart disease, the main cause of heart attacks.
Some 68,000 women go to hospital following a heart attack each year in the UK – an average of 186 women per day, or 8 per hour.
Yet many women think heart disease isn't something that will happen to them.
Women are also likely to wait longer before calling 999, most likely because they don't recognise their symptoms, BHF says.
The symptoms of heart attack in women:
These are the signs every woman needs to know.
- Chest pain or discomfort – the most recognised symptom of a heart attack though not always present
- Pain radiating to the arms, neck, jaw, stomach and back can all be symptoms of a heart attack
- You may experience pain in just one or all of these places; for some people the pain is severe but for others just uncomfortable
- A feeling of indigestion or reflux type pain – this is often ignored in the hope that it will pass
- Feeling sick, sweaty, breathless or lightheaded with associated chest pain or discomfort
- A general feeling of being unwell or lethargic can also be an indicator of a heart attack when accompanied by chest pain or discomfort
If you are having any of these symptoms it's vital you seek emergency help straight away.
How can you prevent a heart attack?
The most important thing a person can do to ward off a heart attack is to live a healthy lifestyle.
Here are five steps you should take to reduce the risk:
- Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do to boost your heart health as smokers are twice as likely to die from a heart attack, compared to non-smokers
- Take regular exercise (at least two hours 30 minutes a week for adults)
- Eat a healthy diet which is high-fibre and low fat with at least five portions of fruit and veg a day
- Limiting alcohol consumption can also reduce your heart attack risk
- Lose weight if you are overweight or obese
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