While getting some form of cancer tends to be highlighted on the minds of most people, they are overlooking the facts of the leading cause of death in the United States. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in that country. In fact, its rate of occurrence is so great that its death rate beats all types of cancers combined.
Classic signs of heart attack might not hold true
Many people are at least somewhat familiar with the classic signs of a heart attack. These include dizziness, indigestion, shortness of breath, fullness, extreme weakness, anxiety, nausea, sweating, vomiting, cold sweats and irregular or rapid heartbeats. While these are some of the most common, what is likely to be the most recognized symptom of a heart attack is the presence of angina.
Angina is simply a fancy word for chest pain. It is also used to denote any type of discomfort in the chest such as heaviness, pressure, burning, numbness, squeezing or aching. This feeling is often mistaken for indigestion. The duration of these symptoms ranges from a few minutes to symptoms that go away before coming back again. What many people do not realize, though, is that these classic symptoms of a heart attack are typically seen in men.
Women’s heart attack symptoms can differ
While women also report some incidences of heart pain when they are having a heart attack, they also report some symptoms that are more subtle in nature. These can include pressure or pain the center of the chest, pain that spreads out to the arms, fatigue that is unusual in nature for several days, jaw pain or pain that spreads over to the jaw, sleep disturbances, shortness of breath, anxiety and indigestion.
People need to be proactive about their heart health
Particularly for women, people need to become proactive when it comes to their health. If they have symptoms of a heart attack that last for more than five minutes, they should be seen by a health professional. Many health professionals are not well versed in the different symptoms that women may display when it comes to heart attacks. For this reason, if an answer that a doctor gives a patient does not satisfy, a second opinion should be sought.
Symptoms should not be ignored
It is important for people to know the signs of a heart attack. Ignoring such symptoms could result in a poor prognosis. In addition, obtaining a regular health screening in order to check for high risk factors enables a person to make the necessary changes to protect their health. These often include changes to the diet and exercise routine.