You"d completely know if girlfriend were having a love attack, right? You"d clutch your left arm in pain, automatically fall under to the floor, and head best to the hospital.
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Eh, no so much. Heart assaults look way various in women. While, yes, many women endure chest and also arm pain, it"s entirely feasible to have actually a heart attack without this symptoms, says Jennifer Haythe, MD, a cardiologist and also co-director the the Women’s center for Cardiovascular wellness at Columbia University.
Other sneaky heart strike symptoms you have to know include jaw pain, shortness that breath, extreme fatigue, dizziness, ago pain, nausea, hot flashes, indigestion, and also even something that feels prefer an tension attack.
Heart an illness is the number one killer in the U.S. For females (men, too!) and is responsible for one in three female deaths, according to the American heart Association. Yet "too numerous women don’t realize that heart condition is the best risk to their health," says Dr. Haythe. "Women should be even an ext educated because they"re more likely to have actually atypical symptoms."
If the weren"t tricky enough, every individual may experience different symptoms. Here, 5 heart strike survivors reveal precisely what their heart assault felt like.
"I felt prefer I had actually a large pill stuck in my throat"
"I actually had actually three heart attacks in 3 days. I proficient my first heart strike on April 10th, 2014, a second on April 11th, and also a 3rd on the 12th, just hrs after gift released from the hospital. The last one was so serious I was taken into consideration dead because that a few minutes and it’s miracle the physicians were maybe to carry me back.
"Looking back, ns realized I’d been having heart symptoms, choose numbness in my left arm and stiffness in mine neck, since November of 2013. During my actual love attacks, my chest felt together if something was stuck, favor I swallowed a huge pill and it wouldn’t pass. I additionally experienced nausea, hot flashes, sweating, clamminess, and also extreme fatigue. But if I had to amount it up, I would certainly say my human body felt choose a lot of circuits misfiring at one time.
"After surgery to put a stent in, mine cardiologist said me I needed to rethink my whole lifestyle, mentally and physically. I took his advice and today I"m happy to say that i exercise five days a week v a combination of yoga, cardio, and also weight lifting. I admit that I have a slight benefit over most as my husband is a fitness coach; he helps me remain the course! we all require support and encouragement because that this journey."
–Tara Robinson, 45, volunteer for the American love Association’s walk Red For women "Real Women" campaign
"I felt prefer I had actually awful heartburn."
"I had just perfect teaching 3 high-intensity classes, and also I feel a ache in my chest, however I brushed that off together heartburn. Then, together I to be walking increase the stairs at my gym for a meeting, I suddenly felt very fatigued—so much so that i didn"t think I"d be able to make the the rest of the way.
"Seconds later, i felt hot and also sweat started rolling turn off of me, choose I had just acquired out the a sauna. I likewise suddenly wasn"t may be to capture my breath, i felt nauseous, I had cramping in mine hands, and my chest pain was gaining worse and also worse.
"I preserved saying i was fine, but my coworker knew better, so she referred to as 911. Paramedics walk an EKG and also immediately threw me in the ambulance and also rushed me come the hospital.
"Within an hour, I had actually an angiogram to eliminate a gerean that had blocked my left anterior to decrease artery 100 percent. The second it to be out, ns felt prompt relief. Mine cardiologist’s best guess was that stress and anxiety or exercise, or a mix of the two, resulted in a tear in my artery, which required the blood to clot. I uncovered out later that the bulk of world with this exact same blockage die.
"I feeling so fortunate to be able to lead my healthy and balanced lifestyle today, yet it’s always in the earlier of my mind. Currently I have constant checkups because that my arteries and also am careful not to overdo it through intense exercise. The experience has actually just do me therefore thankful because that every day ns have!"
–Shannon Schleicher, 39, a an individual trainer and also fitness coach for Life Time Athletic
"I felt prefer I to be hiking mount Everest—on level ground."
"I to be on what was claimed to be basic hike through my friend, when every one of a sudden i felt at sight breathless (we weren"t also out of sight of the parking lot yet), and I had pain shooting down my left arm.
"I sat under on a rock and also told my friend ns felt fine—the hike should"ve to be easy, I had actually just perfect a half marathon and was newly checked out by my doctor for soft chest pain—but that didn"t think me and also rushed me come the doctor.
"When I acquired there, the doctors found that the left main artery of mine heart to be 98 percent blocked and also the blockage was an extremely close to my heart—a problem referred to as "the widow maker" because it"s so regularly lethal. I was just 33 years old and also in an excellent shape, yet it transforms out I bring a gene that substantially increases my danger of love disease. (My dad had his first heart assault at 32!)
"Since the fateful day, I had actually three surgeries and also five stents placed in. I likewise need to follow a strictly vegan, low-cholesterol diet. Yet today I"m doing great and earlier to act the activities I love, including starting my very own fitness company."
–Mika Leah, 41, founder that Goomi and volunteer for the American love Association’s go Red For females "Real Women" campaign
"I believed I had actually breast cancer."
"In early 2008 i started having actually some strange symptoms—my left shoulder hurt because that no reason, i was having actually a tough time comment questions due to the fact that my mind felt foggy, and also I had actually what feel like electric shocks all under my left side. However none of castle felt severe enough to gain checked out, so ns brushed them turn off for nine months.
"Then, virtually overnight, the electric shocks increase on my left torso and also I began to have pain in mine chest. Breast cancer was the first thing that popped into my mind, but prior to I might make an appointment to obtain it confirm out, my health and wellness went downhill—fast.
"I woke up one morning feeling awful—super tired, my back hurt, and I to be nauseous—but I entered work anyhow. When there, ns told my coworker how I felt, adding that my chest felt favor it was obtaining crushed. He immediately said, "That sounds prefer a heart attack."
"I assumed he was crazy. Ns was just 37, ns wasn"t overweight, i didn"t have actually clogged arteries, and also I was really fit. Still, the insisted on acquisition me come the hospital. As soon as we were there, I had actually a full-blown heart attack in the wait room that the ER.
"During the entire ordeal, I never thought "This is it, I"m having a heart attack." I just felt miserable and also knew something was terribly wrong. Spring back, ns realize ns overlooked one huge risk factor: mine family background of heart disease. After I had actually my heart attack, I found out that almost everyone on mine mom"s next had early heart disease. Mine grandfather also had a heart attack at 37.
"The totality experience was terrifying and I still feel traumatized mental it. However in a way, it to be a really great wake up call. Now that I know my risks, I deserve to be much better prepared. I take love medication and also a infant aspirin every day, and also I obtain tested regularly. I"m earlier to my favorite sport—rock climbing—but ns make certain to tell anyone to ask their parents around their history of love disease."
–Lilly Rocha, 47, volunteer because that the American heart Association’s walk Red For ladies "Real Women" campaign
"I assumed I was just having actually a panic attack."
"I was simply 21 years old and also a senior in college when I had actually a love attack. I was at my apartment with my roommates, getting ready to go to football practice once I started having what I believed was anxiety. My mother had actually just passed away six weeks earlier (of heart disease!), and I to be still an extremely much grieving her loss.
"Every time ns took a breath, mine chest would hurt as soon as I exhaled. After ~ a couple of minutes, the ache in my chest increased until that felt prefer someone to be both squeezing and also stabbing my heart. It wasn’t the worst pains in my life, yet it was incredibly uncomfortable. Ns felt faint and also lightheaded. Ns was cold, however I was sweating and nauseous too.
"But the weirdest component was that my wrists feel numb—almost favor my arms were asleep, but the feeling was focused around my wrists. The didn’t matter just how I sat, laid, or stood, the pain and the monster feelings wouldn’t go away. That’s when I knew other was yes, really wrong.
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"I visited the hospital wherein doctors discovered a blood clot partially blocking among my arteries, which had actually caused a love attack. They to be able to break up the clot through medication, so i didn’t need surgery.
"Today I’m doing an excellent and i only have actually two restrictions: i am no longer allowed to get involved in contact sports (like soccer) to avoid clot activity or development from injury, and I"m an alleged to save my heart rate below 170 beats every minute together a precaution no to strain my heart.
"My mom was just 58 once she died and I still miss out on her every day. Her storage reminds me why heart health and wellness is therefore important, even in young, seemingly healthy women."
–Molly Schroeder, 28, volunteer because that the American love Association’s walk Red For women "Real Women" campaign
Charlotte Hilton AndersenCharlotte Hilton Andersen has actually been a health and fitness writer for 12 years and is the author of The great Fitness Experiment.
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