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For both men and women, the most common symptom of a heart attack is chest pain. However, women may experience a heart attack without chest discomfort or pressure. Symptoms of a heart attack, for both men and women, include:

• Chest pain, discomfort or pressure

• Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or one or both arms

• Shortness of breath

• Lightheadedness

• Nausea or vomiting

• Cold sweats

• Dizziness

Women are more likely to experience other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, jaw or back pain, nausea or vomiting. Women also may experience extreme fatigue or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen. It's not uncommon for women to write off their symptoms as other, less serious health concerns, such as acid reflux or the flu.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends calling 911 as soon as you experience heart attack signs, even if you are unsure. Fast action is required for a heart attack, and minutes can save lives.

Concerned about your heart health? Quality cardiovascular care is right around the corner at Northwest Health Cardiology in Siloam Springs. To schedule an appointment, call 479-215-3060.

Heart disease and menopause

Risk for heart disease increases with age for men and women. However, women who have experienced menopause are at a greater risk for heart disease.

According to the AHA, 54 is the average age women experience menopause -- 12 months without a period. Heart attack risk increases in women about 10 years after menopause occurs.

The female hormone estrogen may keep blood vessels flexible in the inner layer of the artery wall, allowing them to expand to accommodate blood flow. In addition to lower estrogen levels, unhealthy habits, such as eating a high-fat diet, smoking and following a sedentary lifestyle, can increase heart disease risk.

The AHA does not recommend taking hormone therapy to increase estrogen and instead encourages women to eat a heart-healthy diet and aim for 150 minutes of physical activity per week.

General News on 02/06/2019

Print Headline: Could this be a heart attack?

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