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Womens Heart Attack Symptoms

TYLER (KYTX) - A woman suffers a heart attack every 90 seconds in the United States.

What many people don't know is that the symptoms of a heart attack can be very different for men and women.

The U.S. Health Department is trying to squash the "Hollywood Heart Attack" myth, where you see people in movies grasp their chest, and fall to the ground as they have a heart attack. In reality, the symptoms most women experience are far more subtle!

Knowing the facts could mean the difference between life and death.

Chief of Cardiology at Trinity Mother Frances Hospital Dr. Fagg Sanford, says, "Probably only 10 percent or so of women actually know that the symptoms of a heart attack are different in men and women."

It's not just women who are unaware.

He says, "A lot of health care professionals also don't recognize the symptoms are different in women than men."

Heart disease is the number one killer in women and one third of women will die from it - many because they won't catch symptoms early enough.

Women, rarely feel the tight chest pain that men usually do.

Dr. Sanford says to look out for these symptoms: "Shortness of breath, and  they may feel a sense of anxiety or doom. They may have a sense of nausea or an over all feeling that something is wrong. They may get some discomfort in the neck or the shoulders, or the back or the arms, but less than 1 in 5 will come in saying they've got chest pain.

And minutes matter! the U.S. Health Department says every 30 minutes you wait to get help, could take one year off your life.

"If we get to the heart attack early," Dr Sanford says, "Then we save heart muscle and in turn saves quality of life or life itself. If you do suspect problems, get medical attention, period."

Knowing the truth, and taking action, could save your life.

Doctors insist that if you do experience these symptoms, call 9-1-1 instead of having a loved one drive you, or driving yourself. An ambulance is like a mobile ICU and quicker treatment could be what saves your life.

Preventing the problem is the best thing you can do. That means not smoking, controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol, exercising, and eating right.