PUBLISHED: 3:49 PM on Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Signs of heart attack, stroke
In February, during American Heart Month, people are to eat a heart healthy diet, manage medical conditions such as high cholesterol and diabetes, and exercise to reduce the risk of developing cardio-vascular disease. However, one in three American adults already has CVD and is at risk for heart attack and stroke. CVD kills an American every 35 seconds and is the leading cause of death in women over age 25.

Suffering a cardiac event is not a sure death sentence, but time is of the essence. The sooner victims receive medical attention, the better their chances for a life-saving intervention. Some medications and therapies can even help stop a heart attack or stroke in progress. To be most effective, these therapies should be administered within one hour of the onset of symptoms.

Women account for more than half of the annual fatalities from heart attack and stroke and that their warning signs may be more subtle or differ completely from those in men. Women, for example, are more likely to experience nausea and dizziness than men are; men more often feel pain in the center of the chest.

The American Heart Association advises that you call 9-1-1 immediately if you experience or witness someone else experiencing these warning signs of heart attack and stroke:

Signs of heart attack in Women

• Sudden, uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, or pain, usually in the center of the chest that lasts for more than five minutes

• Pain in the chest that radiates out to the shoulders, back, neck, jaw, stomach, or one or both arms

• Shortness of breath

• Lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea, and vomiting

Signs of stroke in Women

• Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body

• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

• Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

• Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

• Sudden, severe headache with no known cause