How can I tell if my symptoms are caused by a heart attack?
Many women aren't sure what is wrong when they are having a heart attack. Just ask Jane:
"Early one morning I started having pain in my neck and back and I was sweating a lot. It felt like my body was going out of control! It never crossed my mind that I could be my heart. Just to be on the safe side I had my husband take me to the hospital...I was shocked when the doctor told me I was having a heart attack."
Did you know?
Not all women have chest discomfort or other common symptoms during their heart attack. When in doubt, check it out.
Looking back, many women say that they felt "off" or that something was "just not right" before their heart attack, but they didn't realize their symptoms could be related to their heart. It is important to realize that not all heart attacks feel the same. Although some are sudden and intense, others may start slowly with mild pain or discomfort and/or other symptoms, which can come and go over several hours. Not all women have common heart attack symptoms such as chest pain or discomfort.
Many women have symptoms like sweating, tiredness, and nausea sometimes. The most important thing to remember is that new symptoms, or a change in the pattern of your existing symptoms, are cause for concern. Call 9-1-1 right away if you have symptoms that are:
- Different from what you have felt before
- Stronger than usual
- Last longer than usual
- Occur with less physical effort than usual
The only way to be sure if you're having a heart attack is for hospital emergency department staff to examine you as soon as possible. Trust your instincts and remember that you know your body better than anyone. When in doubt, check it out.
"Even though I had no idea what was happening to me, a small voice told me to call 9-1-1. Tests at the hospital quickly showed I was having a heart attack. Five years later I'm doing well, but I am still haunted by what might have happened if I hadn't listened to my intuition."—Susan