Intense chest pain is the symptom most people think of when they think of a heart attack. That’s what you see in the movies, right? In real life, a heart attack can begin with milder symptoms and leave you unsure about what’s wrong.
Dr. Molly Rutherford, a board-certified cardiologist at Jefferson Surgical Clinic, teaches patients the other signs of heart attack:
- Chest discomfort, from pain to a squeezing feeling or sensation of fullness.
- Jaw pain as well as toothache and neck ache.
- Upper middle abdomen discomfort, including heartburn and indigestion.
- Arm pain on either side, but commonly on the left.
- Difficulty breathing and gasping for air.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Cold sweats and lightheadedness.
- Vague illness with anxiety.
Women are more likely to experience these other symptoms of heart attack, which can be mistaken for indigestion or the flu. It doesn’t occur to some women that they could actually be experiencing a heart attack.
In fact, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women in the United States. All adults should know what to do when a heart attack is suspected:
1) Call 911. Don’t wait and don’t attempt to drive to the emergency room.
2) Chew an adult aspirin to help limit damage.
Do you need to learn more about your individual risk factors? Call the Jefferson Surgical Clinic at (540) 283-6000 to schedule an appointment. Dr. Rutherford cares for patients with all kinds of cardiac needs and can help you make the best choices for your health.