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Guard Your Heart: Heart Attack Warning Signs

It’s time for us to prioritize our health and to guard our hearts!  The American Heart Association has stated that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women.  Strokes are the No. 4 cause of death in the United States. It is imperative that women learn the warning signs and symptoms, see a doctor regularly, and learn their family history.  Below, Westa.org shares information from the AHA about the warning signs of a heart attack and stroke (This post is not a replacement for medical advice. Please see your doctor or call 9-1-1 if you need medical attention).

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Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it – Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

Sweating. Pressure. Nausea. Jaw pain. Believe it or not, these are all symptoms of a heart attack in women. They are also symptoms that women often brush off as the flu, stress or simply feeling under the weather—which could put their lives in jeopardy. Whether it’s disbelief, lack of awareness or misdiagnosis, dismissing the symptoms of a heart attack can delay critical, life-saving actions. Being able to recognize the warning signs and act quickly, however, can save a life.


Heart attacks occur when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked by a buildup of plaque in coronary arteries. While the initial causation can often be pinned on the usual suspects—heavy smokers, people with high-stress lifestyles, or those who are excessively overweight—the not-so-usual suspects can also be at high risk for heart attack.

Signs That You May Be Having A Heart Attack:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

As with men, the most common heart attack symptom in women is chest pain or discomfort. But it’s important to note that women are more likely to experience the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

heart attack stroke signs westacogic


Stroke is not only the No. 4 cause of death in the United States, but it’s also a leading cause of severe, long-term disability. That’s why it’s important to take action immediately. Research conducted by The American Stroke Association shows that patients who take a clot-busting drug, or thrombolytic, within three hours of their first stroke symptom can reduce long-term disability from ischemic stroke – the most common type, accounting for about 87 percent of all cases.

Signs That You May Be Having A Stroke:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

You should never wait more than five minutes to dial 9-1-1 if you experience even one of the signs above. Remember, you could be having a stroke or heart attack even if you’re not experiencing all of the symptoms. Also, remember to check the time. The responding emergency medical technician or ER nurse at the hospital will need to know when the first symptom occurred.

When you know the signs of stroke, the life you save could be your own or someone else’s. Learn to spot the signs of stroke, or spot a stroke F.A.S.T. (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911). Your life is in your hands!

Learn more about your risk for heart disease and stroke as well as factors that increase your risk. For more information and to continue reading, please see the American Heart Association’s GoRED campaign links below:

GoRED for Women: Symptoms of a Stroke

GoRED for Women: Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Medical Disclaimer. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only. Please see your doctor or call 9-1-1 if you need medical attention.

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