Heart disease is the number one killer of women. Though breast cancer has, through mass popular fund raising and health education programs, been in the forefront of public health awareness, heart disease in fact takes the lives of more women every year. The American Heart Association (AHA) is working at improving the public awareness of the threat heart disease poses to society and to women specifically. It is known that there is a strong genetic component to both breast cancer and heart disease. Unlike breast cancer however, there are several things that women with heart disease can do to reduce their chances of dying. A key first step in promoting women’s health and reducing morbidity is early recognition of heart attack symptoms for women and efficient treatment of acute symptoms. Complicating this effort is the fact that women do not have ‘classic’ signs and symptoms. SureFire CPR is an advocate for health and health education and supports this community outreach education effort in women’s health promotion.
Women who are having a heart attack typically don’t have classic chest pain. The public’s common perceptions of heart attack symptoms include ‘crushing chest pain’, nausea, and diaphoresis. Though these are typical heart attack symptoms, they tend to be more commonly found among males. Women can have these symptoms and are encouraged to promptly seek medical attention should they develop these symptoms. Heart attack symptoms for women can be much different. However, in addition to the more ‘classic’ heart attack symptoms, women may also present with several slightly more subtle symptoms that should not be ignored. Among these are band like back pain, shoulder and abdominal pain. Additionally, women tend to feel short of breath, chest congestion that some describe as ‘flu like’. Actual fainting or near syncope is also commonly reported, more often with women than men.
Symptom recognition is a key first step in damage control in managing an acute heart attack. Initial heart attack symptoms for women can be subtle and easily inappropriately identified as ‘flu’ or muscle strain. To reduce the chances of dying from a heart attack, it is important to stay informed and aware of the signs that, in women, may indicate an acute heart event. This awareness, combined with an understanding of heart health risks, is a key first step in improving the outcome post heart attack.
Heart Attack Symptoms for Women and “The Simple 7”
Managing heart health risk involves more than weight loss and regular check ups. Although important as a component in a balanced approach to health maintenance, the AHA is an advocate of a multi pronged approach to cardiovascular health management. In addition to recognizing some of the less well known heart attack symptoms for women, the AHA also publishes “The Simple 7.” These seven guidelines are “Heart Health Factors” that are aimed at health promotion and reducing our chances of dying from heart disease. The simple seven are:
Manage Blood Pressure
Reduce Blood Sugar
SureFire CPR supports the AHA’s efforts in promoting heart health through education and research. The classes offered at SureFire CPR: First Aid, Basic CPR, Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support, all are taught according to AHA guidelines. SureFire CPR has classes available in your neighborhood. Call and schedule your class today.