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The Healthy Heart Handbook for Women


For many people, the first symptom of heart disease is a heart attack. Therefore, everywoman should know how to identify the symptoms of a heart attack and how to get immediate medical help. Ideally, treatment should start within 1 hour of the first symptoms. Recognizing the warning signs and getting help quickly can save your life.

Know the Warning Signs

Not all heart attacks begin with sudden, crushing pain, as is often shown on TV or in the movies. Many heart attacks start slowly as mild pain or discomfort. The most common warning signs for women and men are listed below:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes. It may feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. The discomfort can be mild or severe, and it may come and go.

  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body, including one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.

  • Shortness of breath. This symptom may occur along with or without chest discomfort.

  • Other signs include nausea, light-headedness, or breaking out in a cold sweat.

Table of Contents Next: Get Help Quickly

Last Updated: February 29, 2012

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