Heart Awareness Month
February is Heart Health Month so I wanted to decide this post to heart health awareness. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Heart disease is an equal opportunity killer which claims approximately 1 million lives annually. My dad passed away from this dreaded disease when I was only 10 years old. I’ve also had an uncle who died from a massive heart attack in 2006.
We all need to be educated on the symptoms of a heart attack (see below). You can also visit The Heart Foundation website for more information.
Heart Attack Symptoms
Symptoms of a heart attack or myocardial infarction can vary greatly from person to person, but in order to help you identify a possible heart attack, we have listed some of the most common symptoms below:
- Approximately 2 out of every 3 people who have heart attacks experience chest pain, shortness of breath or fatigue a few days or weeks before the attack.
- A person with angina (temporary chest pain) may begin to find that it takes less and less physical activity to trigger the pain. Any change in the pattern of angina should be taken very seriously and brought to the attention of your physician.
- During a heart attack, a person may feel pain in the middle of the chest which can spread to the back, neck, jaw or arms. The pain may also be felt only in the back, neck, jaw or arms rather than the chest.
- A person having a heart attack may have gas-like pain or pressure in the stomach area which is often mistaken for indigestion. The pain is similar to angina, but it is usually more severe, longer lasting and does not improve with rest or a nitroglycerin pill.
- It is important to note that approximately 1 out of every 3 people who have heart attacks do not feel any chest pain. Many of these are women, non-Caucasian, older than 75, have heart failure or diabetes or have had a stroke.
- Nausea & vomiting which are sometimes mistaken for food poisoning or the stomach flu
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Shortness of breath, especially in older people
- Feelings of restlessness, sweatiness, anxiety or a sense of impending doom
- Bluishness of the lips, hands or feet
- Heavy pounding of the heart or abnormal heart rhythms
- Loss of consciousness (This can be the first symptom of a heart attack!)
- Disorientation resembling a stroke may occur in older people.
- Also, older people, especially women, will often take longer to admit they are not well and to request medical assistance.