Signs of heart attack in women

CBS NEWS – Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States, killing more than 300,000 every year — yet only about half of women are aware of the risks, signs and symptoms of heart attacks.

On National Wear Red Day, which is observed on Feb. 2 to raise awareness for cardiovascular disease, CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook joined “CBS Mornings” to share what women should know.

While rates have decreased in the past 20 years, LaPook says far too many are still dying from heart disease.

“It’s a dangerous misconception that heart disease is somehow exclusively a male disease,” he said. “It’s the No. 1 killer in women. There’s a reason why we’re wearing red today, and that’s to bring attention to this, because attention and understanding translates to save lives.”

Signs of heart attack in women

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For women, LaPook says the most common symptoms of heart attacks include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

However, there can be some more atypical symptoms, including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in your jaw, back or other areas
  • Heart disease risk factors

There are several risk factors when it comes to heart disease, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity

“Access to care is another thing,” LaPook adds. “You have to be able to actually see a doctor.”

He also pleads: “No smoking!” “That’s one of the big reasons for the drop is the decline in smoking,” he notes.

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Is there a screening for heart disease?

Knowing your numbers early on — for things like weight, blood pressure and more — is the best way to keep an eye on heart health.

“It’s not something where you want to wait until you have symptoms and then say, ‘OK, now I’m going to really get into it.’ This should be a lifelong thing … ”


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