We have all seen an actor in a movie or television show portray a heart attack. But did you know that, in reality, the symptoms of a heart attack could actually be very different?
The Mayo Clinic identifies these symptoms as the most common warning signs of a heart attack :
It is important to note that not all patients will experience all of these symptoms. They may experience only one or two symptoms, or they may have subtle discomfort over a few days, or they might have a sudden onset of extreme pressure and pain. Each person’s experience of a heart attack may vary.
In particular, women are known to experience slightly different warning signs than men. As described by the American Heart Association (AHA):
“Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure,” said Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health at NYU’s Langone Medical Center. “Instead they may experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure, or extreme fatigue.”
Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. Unfortunately, too often women confuse the symptoms of a heart attack with less life-threatening conditions like acid reflux, the flu, or “just getting old.”
According to the AHA, a heart attack strikes someone about every 43 seconds. If you or a loved one experience any of the symptoms mentioned in this blog post, please call 911 and get to a hospital as soon as possible.
While the statistics are scary, the good news is we know how to lower the odds of a heart attack. The AHA recommends these lifestyle changes to lower your risk factors for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke:
Even if you follow these guidelines perfectly, there are some risk factors for heart attack that cannot be changed , such as age, gender, and hereditary traits. That is why it is so important to work closely with your doctor to manage your health and to take your medications as prescribed. For example, statins are proving to play a major role in managing heart disease. Statins reduce deaths from coronary heart disease by 28 percent in men, according to the results of a long-term research study released in 2017 .
Don’t let cost be a barrier to good heart health. If your doctor has prescribed statins or other medications to help manage your cholesterol, high blood pressure, or other risk factors for heart disease, sign up for a prescription discount card from FamilyWize. Free and easy to use, our card has helped over 10 million people nationwide save more than $1 billion on their prescription medications.
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