Women: Would you recognize your own heart attack?

As a woman, you probably hear a lot about common health concerns, such as breast and ovarian cancer. But what about heart disease? Women account for nearly half of all heart attack deaths in the U.S. Recognizing symptoms can help prevent you from becoming a victim.

“In the U.S., heart disease kills more women than any other health condition,”
says Thomas Quinn, MD, director of cardiology at Little Company of Mary Hospital, recently honored as a top doctor for women by Chicago Magazine. “This is partly because women don’t recognize their unique heart attack symptoms. As a result, they fail to seek treatment quickly enough.”

Women may experience sudden, intense chest pain during a heart attack. But often, their symptoms are not as obvious. These could include:

  • Mild chest discomfort, including pressure, squeezing, tightness or weakness
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Cold sweats associated with the above symptoms
  • Dizziness with severe weakness or fainting

And many women begin experiencing symptoms, such as sleep disturbances, shortness of breath, indigestion and anxiety, weeks before a heart attack actually strikes.

“Because women are unsure of their symptoms, they tend to wait and see if they
feel better before they get help, or they plan on seeing a doctor when the timing is more convenient,” says Dr. Quinn.

Call 911 immediately if you notice any of these symptoms. Receiving treatment for a heart attack quickly may mean the difference between life and death.

Thomas Quinn, M.D., 708-425-7272
Dr. Quinn attended Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Cook County Hospital and the University of Hawaii and cardiology fellowship training at Rush University Medical Center. Dr. Quinn is a board certified cardiologist and internist.

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