Know the symptoms – Heart Attacks in Women

Ask a group of women if they know what the chance of getting breast cancer in their lifetime is, almost unanimously they will answer 1 in 8 women.  They have heard that statistic over and over and have it committed to memory.

However, ask the same group of women what their chance of being diagnosed with heart disease in their life is they sit quietly.

Heart disease affects 1 in 3 women


Women view heart disease as something that happens to men, not them.   How often do you see a woman clutch her chest and fall to the ground on a TV program or commercial?  Very rarely.   Work and family are often prioritized over a woman’s own needs.  Why don’t we place ourselves in the number one slot?  Women are traditionally in the role of caregiver, and therefore her needs are minimized.  If a woman has a heart attack she is less likely to seek help—she doesn’t want to be a bother.

Women may have different signs and symptoms of a heart attack and not the chest pain we often see on TV.  Signs and symptoms may include:  shortness of breath, nausea, arm pain, jaw pain, back pain, heartburn.

The message? Know your body and get help when something is not right.

Tips for Heart Health

  1. Balance your life

    Eat a proper diet, get regular exercise, relieve stress, and meet your spiritual needs

  2. Ask questions

    When you are at a doctor’s appointment (make an appointment if you haven’t seen a physician in awhile) ask questions
    -What is my blood pressure? (Normal is less than 120/80)
    -What is my total cholesterol? (Normal is less than 200)
    -What is my good cholesterol? (Normal is >65)
    -What is my bad cholesterol? (Normal is <100)
    -What is my blood sugar? (Normal is less than <100)

  3. Do not avoid the doctor

    Avoiding the doctor because you are afraid of the answers to these questions.  Information will help you make a plan.  If something is too high you have the opportunity to make it better before it is too late.

  4. Take the Life’s Simple 7 quiz

    Go to American Heart Association’s website at and take the Life’s Simple 7 quiz.

  5. Be the first in your family

    Whether at home, at work, or in your group of friends to initiate a conversation about women and heart disease. Open dialogue equals increased awareness.

  6. Age healthily.

    Stop focusing on what was and plan for tomorrow. An article on ABC News titled “Secret to Active 80s? Fitness-Heavy 40’s” is a great start. The general gist? It’s is never too late to start a fitness program.

  7. Children learn from example.

    We owe it to our kids, grand kids, nieces, nephews, and neighbor kids to show them what healthy living means.

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