In the United States a heart attack is occurring every 49 seconds. According to the CDC, heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women totaling over 655,000 lives lost each year.
Men, more so than women may have no symptoms with a “silent” heart attack. Many will have no forewarning until the actual event of a heart attack or heart failure occur.
Pain or discomfort in the chest is the most widely recognized symptom of a heart attack but doesn’t always present that way. Discomfort can be in the upper back, neck, or arm. Other symptoms like nausea and vomiting, extreme fatigue or shortness of breath can also be warning signs of a heart attack.
It’s important to know that some of the symptoms of heart disease can look like the flu or, more recently, like COVID-19. That’s why it’s important to know your family health history, your personal health risk, and what your body’s “normal” feels like so you can seek help when something just doesn’t feel right.
Despite increased awareness over the years, many don’t realize that heart disease is the still the leading cause of death for women in the US. One-in-five women will die from heart disease, which is more than breast cancer or other female cancers. Heart disease includes not only heart attack, but also heart failure, and heart rhythm disturbances.
Women’s symptoms of heart attack often include extreme fatigue, nausea or vomiting, or indigestion-like discomfort. Just like men, women can also have the more recognizable chest pain that can be a heaviness, or sharp or radiating from chest, neck, or jaw and down the arm. If you have any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 right away.
The heart is a muscle and needs oxygen to perform at its peak. When an artery in the heart is blocked by plague, blood flow decreases, and discomfort occurs due to lack of oxygen. Time is of the essence when identifying these blockages and moving toward getting the arteries opened and restoring blood flow to the heart muscle.
Cardiac catheterization is done to determine the extent and location of blockages and intervention is done to remove those blockages by stenting or other cath lab procedures. Early intervention is key to preventing heart muscle damage due to heart artery blockages.
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