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7 Signs You’re Having A Heart Attack



Heart attack symptoms aren’t unisex. “What we think of as characteristic heart attack pain—like an elephant sitting on your chest—is much more likely to occur in men than in women,” says Marianne Legato, MD, director of the Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine at Columbia University.

In fact, 43% of women having a coronary don’t experience any chest painat all. Because their signs are so much less obvious, women wait longer to go to the ER than men do. But that can be fatal: Your odds of surviving a heart attack improve by 23% if you get treatment within three hours and 50% if it’s within one hour.

Don’t become a cardiac cautionary tale. Read on for the seven heart attack warning signs women are most likely to miss. And if you do experience any or all of these, act immediately-don’t delay because you’re not absolutely sure it’s serious. As Dr. Legato puts it: “It’s better to be embarrassed than dead.”

Heart Attack Red Flags:

1. Extreme fatigue In the days or even weeks before a heart attack, more than 70% of women experience debilitating, flulike exhaustion. You may suddenly feel too tired to cook dinner or lift your laptop.

2. Mild pain Rather than the elephant on the chest, women may feel less severe pain—and not always in the region of the heart. Pressure or achiness can occur in the breastbone, upper back, shoulders, neck, or jaw.

3. Profuse sweating You may find yourself suddenly drenched in perspiration for no apparent reason, or your face may be pale or ashen.

4. Nausea or dizziness Prior to a heart attack, women often have indigestion or even vomit. You may also feel like you’re about to pass out.

5. Breathlessness Almost 58% of women report panting or inability to carry on a conversation because they couldn’t catch their breath.

6. Sleeplessness Nearly half of women have trouble falling asleep or wake up during the night in the weeks before a coronary.

7. Anxiety “Many women experience a sense of impending doom or fear before a heart attack,” says Dr. Legato, though experts don’t necessarily understand why. Nonetheless, it’s real and it matters. “That’s your body telling you to pay attention. Trust those instincts,” she advises.


Your Three-Step Survival Plan

1. Call 911. Don’t make the common mistake of driving yourself to the hospital: You’re endangering yourself and others on the road. And don’t ask someone else to take you. In the


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