Know the Signs of a Heart At­tack Symp­toms other than chest pain

The symp­toms go be­yond clas­sic chest pain, so wise up for Heart Awarencess Month.

Good Housekeeping (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - By Juno Demelo


Though most heart at­tacks don’t make you sud­denly lose con­scious­ness, they can re­duce or cut off blood flow that brings oxy­gen to the heart and brain, which may cause you to feel light-headed.


Un­less you’re go­ing through menopause or have just ex­er­cised, break­ing out into a cold sweat or per­spir­ing ex­ces­sively could sig­nal a heart at­tack, which ac­ti­vates the ner­vous sys­tem.


Feel­ing worn out af­ter a sleep­less night or stress­ful day is nor­mal. But more than half of women feel ex­tremely tired or weak more than a month be­fore hav­ing a heart at­tack, even though they haven’t ex­erted them­selves.


Our heart doesn’t have many nerve end­ings, so it some­times shares a path­way with nerves to other body parts, caus­ing pain to ra­di­ate to the back, shoul­ders, arms, neck or jaw. Some women say it feels as if an ele­phant is sit­ting on their back.


A heart at­tack may cause nausea, which is twice as likely to oc­cur in women than in men. (Many also feel like they’re get­ting the flu days be­fore a heart at­tack.) If you have sud­den and con­stant nausea that doesn’t seem food-re­lated, take ac­tion.


If work­outs in­ex­pli­ca­bly seem harder, see your doc­tor. If you sud­denly feel like you just ran up stairs and can’t catch your breath when you’re not do­ing much, or the feel­ing rouses you from sleep, go to the emer­gency room. We’ve all seen a man go wide-eyed and clutch his chest in the movies. But a heart at­tack can come on with­out chest pain, es­pe­cially in women. ‘Two-thirds of women will have less-typ­i­cal, nonHol­ly­wood heart-at­tack symp­toms,’ says Dr C Noel Bairey Merz, direc­tor of the Bar­bra Streisand Women’s Heart Cen­ter at the Cedars-Si­nai Heart In­sti­tute in Los An­ge­les. If you ex­pe­ri­ence any of the symp­toms on this page and they’re rel­a­tively mild, don’t hes­i­tate to call your doc­tor, as they could in­di­cate a heart at­tack is imminent. (About half are pre­ceded by symp­toms days be­fore­hand.) And if they are se­vere or worsen steadily, call 10177. You may need help – fast.

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