In honor of American Heart Month, we’d like to highlight a study from nurse-researcher Dr. Jean McSweeney of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
After interviewing hundreds of people who’d survived a heart attack, Dr. McSweeney noticed that 95 percent of the women she spoke to actually suspected something was wrong in the months leading up to the attack. But the symptoms were often ignored or, if they were brought to the attention of a doctor, were not recognized as being heart-related.
The symptoms ranged from unusual fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain and weakness to mood changes, digestive changes and sleep disturbances. (A full list of the symptoms can be found here.) If you are experiencing any of these symptoms — particularly if they are new, worse, unexplained, or if you have other heart disease risk factors such as diabetes — you should speak with your health-care provider. And if they are severe, you should call 911.
As Dr. McSweeney notes, “Women die sitting at home. Any E.R. would prefer that you come in and not have a heart attack than have a heart attack at home, waiting to see if you get better. We could do a lot to give women longer lives and better-quality lives if we could help them recognize these heart problem signs before the first attack.”
For more information on the symptoms of an impending heart attack in women, read this article on the website Heart Sisters