Older individuals and men are no longer the only victims of heart attacks as was once believed.  This year, World Heart Day is focusing on raising awareness of heart-health issues as they pertain to women and children.  Women often underestimate their risk of heart disease, even though almost half of heart-attack deaths that occur annually are among women.   Mothers, often referred to as the “gatekeepers” of their children’s health, are significantly influential in the food and activity choices their children make which greatly affect their future heart health.

Adair Co. Hospital Marketing Coordinator Tiffany Johnson says even though February is considered Heart-Health Month, people should think about their health and their hearts daily.

The first step in surviving a heart attack is recognizing the symptoms.  The most common signs of heart attack in both men and women are: ynusually heavy pressure on the chest, sharp upper body pain in the neck, back and jaw – this is a more common symptom for women than for men; severe shortness of breath; unexplained or excessive sweating – or for women, breaking out in a cold sweat, and you know it’s not menopause; unusual or explained tiredness; unfamiliar dizziness or light-headedness; unexplained nausea or vomiting – women are twice as likely as men to experience this during a heart attack.

If someone you know experiences these symptoms for more than five minutes, call 9-1-1.

Even if the symptoms go away in less than five minutes, call your health provider right away, as this could be a sign that a heart attack is coming soon.  A national survey of women unfortunately found that many said they would only take action if their symptoms last 30 minutes or more.  Studies show, every 30 minutes you wait to get help could take one year off your life.

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