Wednesday, February 27, 2008


After I went to bed last night, my mind started spinning. I would be remiss if I didn't let all the women out there what signs to look out for when they are experiencing a heart attack. Just keep in mind that some people have NO SYMPTOMS at all. Those are called "Silent MI's". MI is short for myocardial infarction or in plain English, a heart attack.

It is important to note, that the symptoms you experience as a woman, could be different from men. Here is a generalized list of symptoms men and women may experience when suffering a heart attack:
1) Obviously, chest pain is the first. People describe this to me as a pressure; an achiness; squeezing of the chest; or tightness. The feeling may come and go or last several minutes.

2) Anxiety. I see this often in the ICU. A patient of mine will try and crawl out of bed and leave. They have no real reason why they need to "get the heck out of here", just this sense of impending doom that settles over them.

3) Sweating. Your skin will be moist, cold, and clammy. It will be different than when you sweat from physical activity.

4) Stomach pain. This is a huge one! People may feel like they are having a severe case of heartburn, when instead, it is your heart trying to tell you it is under duress. So, if you take your usual antacid remedy and don't feel any relief, have it checked out immediately.

5) Nausea and vomiting. This is self explanatory. You may feel sick to your stomach and just can't hold anything down. But this symptom is very vague because it can be related to almost any medical problem.

6) Upper body pain. You may experience pain or numbness that radiates from your jaw/arms/shoulders.

7) Lightheadedness. You may experience a sensation like dizziness or feel like passing out.

8) Shortness of breath. Your breath may come in short pants and you may experience a sensation like you just can't get enough oxygen in your lungs. Sometimes, this will occur before your chest pain or other symptoms are apparent.

OK. So, there is a list of eight signs and symptoms for both men and women. Of the ones listed above, the symptoms most common for women are #1, #4, #5, #6, #8. But we can add one more that men don't usually experience--unexplained fatigue.

If you experience any of the symptoms above and are at risk for a heart attack, call 9-1-1 or have a friend or family member drive you to the emergency room. Your best chance of survival and decreasing the damage done to your heart is receiving treatment within 90 minutes of the onset of your symptoms! YES!!! 90 MINUTES!! Get yourself checked out. Don't dismiss it as nothing. YOUR LIFE MAY DEPEND ON IT!


jj keller said...

Great information...a couple of times in one of my books I had the woman question if she was having a heart attack (of course it was in reaction to a hunky guy). Now I have validity to back up my scenarios.

Thank you.
jj keller

Kathleen Grieve said...

Glad to help, jj. Panic attacks can sometimes act the same as heart attacks, but like it is always good to be sure.