Your Healthy Family

Feb 22, 2013 11:04 AM by Marissa Torres

Know the symptoms of a heart attack

Knowing the symptoms of a heart attack could mean the difference between life or death, and whether you're a man or women-- those signs could be different.

"On the morning of march 15th, 2010. My dog woke me up, which was unusual and I let the dog outside, and I realized I was very short of breath, and I was extremely weak, extremely fatigued and very dizzy," says Evelyn Emerson, a heart attack survivor.

Not the typical signs of a heart attack, but that's exactly what was happening Evelyn. After being rushed to the hospital, she learned she had a one hundred percent blockage in an artery leading to the heart.

"I had two stints placed, and before I knew it I was out of the hospital and out of cardiac rehab."

Some women will have the classic chest pain from a heart attack, but for the most part- symptoms aren't as obvious as they are in men.

Like Evelyn, women experiencing a heart attack will feel fatigued, short of breath, and extremely light headed.

"Men may have more classic symptoms called angina or chest discomfort that feels more like a weight on their chest, pressure, squeezing, tightness, elephant on the chest," says Dr. David Rosenbaum, a cardiologist with Memorial Hospital.

Evelyn says it was knowing those differences that saved her life.

"I'm pretty certain that I would have just gone back to bed and I wouldn't have contacted 911 and gotten the care that I needed."

Dr. Rosenbaum says 80% of heart attacks are caused by blockages that doctors are not able to pick up through a simple stress test. That's why it's important to know if you're at risk. Memorial Hospital of Colorado Springs has a quick online test for you to take.

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