February 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm
I’m about to share two shocking facts about heart attacks with you. As a health editor, I’ve heard one of these facts several times before. But the other almost made me fall out of my chair.
First, you know that crushing chest pain that we all think of as a classic sign of a heart attack? Well, it is. For men. When it comes to women, about one-third of us don’t experience that discomfort on the left side of our chest. Some symptoms we’re more likely to have than men:
- Nausea, vomiting or indigestion.
- Pain in the back, neck or jaw.
- Sudden and unusual tiredness or lack of energy.
Now for the other surprise. Women often don’t recognize the signs of their own heart attacks—and MDs miss them too. I’ve been stunned by the number of stories I’ve heard from women who were told they were having a panic attack when they showed up at a doctor’s office or hospital with non-traditional symptoms of a heart attack. So I asked renowned cardiologist Martha Gulati, M.D., co-author of Saving Women’s Hearts (Wiley) what we could do. She suggested asking your doctor these ten words at the hospital:
“Did you make sure I’m not having a heart attack?”
“Feel empowered enough to ask the right questions,” said Gulati, director of preventive cardiology and women’s cardiovascular health at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “It could save your life.”
She also recommended knowing your heart numbers (that includes your cholesterol, blood pressure and more) just like you know the number on your scale and what your kid got on his last math test. “That way you can also tell the doctor, ‘I have high cholesterol’ or another risk factor,” she explains, to express the urgency of your situation.
For the past month, we’ve given you one easy tip a day for a healthy heart makeover. Consider this one a bonus and pass it on to friends and family. And if you missed any tips from previous days, just click on them below now.
How to Love Your Heart Every Day Tips
Tip #1: Take It To The Mat
Tip #2: Make Over Your Breakfast
Tip #3: Get Ready For Bed
Tip #4: Screen Your Friends
Tip #5: Show Some Super Bowl Spirit
Tip #6: Write To Save A Life
Tip #7: Change Your Oil
Tip #8: Make Someone’s Day
Tip #9: Hop On Your Feet
Tip #10: Reach For Nuts
Tip #11: Revamp Your Pantry
Tip #12: Have A Good Laugh
Tip #13: Get In Touch With Nature
Tip #14: Take A Class
Tip #15: Get A Precise Reading
Tip #16: Kick Back With A Cup Of Cocoa
Tip #17: Send A Contract
Tip #18: Dress Down Your Salad
Tip #19: Know the Signs of Stroke
Tip #20: Lock The Bedroom Door
Tip #21: Time Your Meds
Tip #22: Chill Out With a Happy Story
Tip #23: Start With 10
Tip #24: Sweeten Up
Tip #25: Enjoy A Taste Of Summer
Tip #26: Take The Long Way
Tip #27: Say No To Soda
Tip #28: Make Your Smile Sparkle
Tip #29: Join Hearts