February is Heart Health month, so here is more information to help you keep your heart healthy and beating! A heart attack strikes someone every 43 seconds. Every second of every minute matters if you feel like you are experiencing a heart attack. 

It’s not always the crushing pain in your chest you may think comes with a heart attack, especially for women who experience different symptoms. Here’s what you need to know so you can act fast!

The major signs and symptoms of a heart attack in women and men include:

  1. Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  2. Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Symptoms can be different for women. Heart attacks are the leading cause of women in the U.S. Although some signs are similar, women tend to explain the symptoms as due to acid reflux, the flu, or aging. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Women’s most common symptom is chest pain or discomfort but women are more likely to than men to experience some of the other common symptoms of:
    • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back
    • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
    • Nausea/vomiting
    • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach

Don’t wait to get help if you experience any of these heart attack warning signs. Although some heart attacks are sudden and intense, most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body — and call 911 if you feel these symptoms. 

Remember, heart disease is preventable! Schedule an appointment with your health care provider to learn about your personal risk for heart disease. Make sure you quit smoking and start a moderate exercise program to lead the way to a healthy heart!