Is it a heart attack?
By STACEY SOLT
"Most heart attacks are marked by sudden, intense pain but many start with more gradual pain," said Michael Obert, CRNP, a nurse practitioner with Blue Mountain Health Systems.
"Women don't often have classic symptoms. They can have subtle symptoms. They know that something is wrong, but aren't sure it needs immediate attention."
Heart attack symptoms can include:
• Chest pain or discomfort
• Pain in the shoulders, arms, back, neck or jaw
• Stomach pain
• Shortness of breath
• Excessive sweating
• Nausea and vomiting
"If you're just short of breath but don't have chest pain, it doesn't mean that everything is OK," he adds. "You need to call 911 within five minutes. Half of all people with a heart attack wait more than 2 hours to get help."
The time that you wait after experiencing symptoms of a heart attack can mean the difference between life and death, says Obert. Even if you're not sure that symptoms are serious, get them checked.
"You don't want to die of embarrassment," he adds.