Know the warning signs of heart attack

Women may experience early symptoms of cardiovascular disease differently than men. The symptoms in women can be much more subtle. If you or any woman you know experience these signs, seek medical attention right away.

If you experience any of these warning signs, seek immediate medical care or call 911.

  • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes.
  • Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck or arms.
  • Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.
  • Jaw pain radiating down the neck.
  • Lower back pain without apparent cause.
  • Shortness of breath with mild exertion (e.g., climbing stairs).
  • Racing heart or irregular heartbeat rhythm.

Questions for you health care provider

It is important to know how heart disease manifests itself in women. These questions are provided to encourage a meaningful dialogue between you and your healthcare provider regarding heart disease. Make the most of your next doctor’s visit by asking your medical provider the following questions:

  • What is my risk for heart disease?
  • What is my blood pressure? What does it mean for me and what do I need to do about it?
  • What are my cholesterol numbers? What do they mean for me and what do I need to do about it?
  • What is my blood sugar level? Does it mean I am at risk for diabetes?
  • Do I need to lose or gain weight for my health?
  • What should I know about the effects of menopause on my health?
  • What can you suggest to help me quit smoking?
  • How much physical activity do I need to help protect my health?
  • How often should I return for checkups for my health?