Wellness News 6-6

By Deana M. Newman

The differences of men and women have for years remained an unsolved mystery, from behavioral patterns to every day thought processes.  While it is definite that the differences exist, the “why” of their existence may always be a mystery.  However, there is one more important difference of the sexes to consider: “Heart Attack Symptoms”. 
According to the Sparrow Heart Center cardiologists and the American Heart Association (AHA), around two-thirds of American women who have died of a sudden heart attack were not aware of prior symptoms.  The reason is due to the fact that heart attack symptoms in women are often subtle when compared to symptoms in men.  The symptoms in men are: squeezing or stabbing pain in the chest – chest discomfort lasting more than a few minutes – neck, jaw, arm, or back pain – shortness of breath – lightheadedness – unexplained weakness or fatigue – clammy skin or paleness – and/or sweating.  While the symptoms in women are: unexplained fatigue, weakness or body aches – vomiting of mild flu-like symptoms – dizziness or fainting – shortness or breath – back discomfort or shoulder blade pain – difficulty sleeping – and/or indigestion.
Recent statistical data from the AHA states 440,000 American women become victim to heart attacks annually while 9,000 of them are under the age of 45 years.  A heart attack is a life-and death emergency, therefore, it is imperative for women to know and instantly recognize their delicate warning signs.  Advanced medications and treatments are available for the heart attack victim; however, the success of their effectiveness is dependent upon time of delivery.  Should you or a loved you show signs of a heart attack call 911 immediately.  Taking your time to call for help is equivalent to taking away precious years of your life.
Deana Newman is currently a Cardiovascular Perfusionist at Sparrow Hospital and a Master’s candidate in Health Communications at Michigan State University.