Could You Spot a Heart Attack?
Sweating sets in, he grabs his chest and faints to the floor—end scene. For many of us, movies and TV have influenced what we believe a heart attack will look like. But often, the symptoms aren’t so dramatic and obvious—especially in women. This article will help you familiarize yourself with heart attack warning signs for both men and women, so you can take quick action should you witness a critical heart event.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease surpasses cancer, stroke and accidental injuries as the leading cause of death in the U.S.—every 1 in 5 deaths is related to heart disease each year.1
Given the significant reach of heart disease, it is vital to be able to identify the warning signs. A 2017 study reported only 50 percent of U.S. adults were aware of the top five heart attack warning signs, including chest pain; shortness of breath; and arm, jaw and back pain.2 While this number has increased, the percentage continues to indicate a lack of early awareness and potentially life-saving detection.
Heart attack survival odds increase the sooner emergency medical care can begin providing support. Knowing the warning signs can help you act fast if you or a loved one experience these symptoms. While some symptoms, such as chest and arm pain, are more commonly known, others are less familiar, especially in women.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “The most common heart attack symptom in women is some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. But it is not always severe or even the most prominent symptom in women. Women are more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain.”3
Take a look at the following diagram and familiarize yourself with the heart attack symptoms found in both men and women.
[Graphic references: male 4, female5 ]
What to Do if You Recognize a Heart Attack
If you notice the symptoms of a heart attack in yourself or someone else, call 911 immediately. The sooner emergency care can begin, the better the chances of survival. After a call to 911, someone nearby who is trained to use CPR or a defibrillator may be able to help until emergency medical personnel arrive. If you suspect you may be having a heart attack, call 911 and don’t drive yourself anywhere. Do your best to keep calm with slow, deep breaths.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
Reduce your risk of heart disease by engaging in preventative, heart-healthy actions, such as eating healthy, exercising at least 30 minutes a day, cutting out smoking and staying up to date on your yearly screenings. Most Platinum-marketed policies include annual screening and diagnostic test benefits, allowing you to be proactive in maintaining your heart health without worrying about related out-of-pocket costs.
If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of your Platinum-marketed policy, or another policy we sell, contact our friendly, knowledgeable customer service team.
1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Nov. 27, 2019). Heart Disease Facts. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm.
2Fang, J., Luncheon, C., Ayala, C., Odom, E., & Loustalot, F. (Feb. 8, 2019). Awareness of Heart Attack Symptoms and Response Among Adults—United States, 2008, 2014, and 2017. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 68(5):101–106. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6805a2.htm.
3Mayo Clinic Staff. (Jan. 9, 2019). Heart Disease in Women: Understand Symptoms and Risk Factors. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease/art-20046167.
4 American Heart Association. (June 30, 2016). Warning Signs of Heart Attack. Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/warning-signs-of-a-heart-attack.
5American Heart Association. (July 31, 2015). Heart Attack Symptoms in Women. Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/warning-signs-of-a-heart-attack/heart-attack-symptoms-in-women.
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