Raising awareness of symptoms of heart attacks in women

Elizabeth Rankin
Elizabeth Rankin

With the shocking news from British Heart Foundation research that 50% of women are more likely to receive the wrong diagnosis when suffering heart attacks, and over 8,000 women died needlessly after a heart attack in England and Wales over a 10 year period, delegates backed steps for more awareness raising about heart attacks amongst women.

Moving the motion from the National Women’s Committee, Scotland’s Elizabeth Rankin told delegates that when most people think of the symptoms of a heart attack, they think of tightness of the chest and pain in the left arm.”

However, in women, although they can experience these symptoms, the most common ones that women have are uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the centre of your chest.

“It lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back,” said Elizabeth, adding that women can also experience pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach, shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort and other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Elizabeth added that, as with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort, but women are more likely to experience some of the other common symptoms.

“We need to educate women not to ignore the symptoms, thinking that they are not important and will go away.

“Instead they should seek medical help right away”, warned Elizabeth.

By Kate Ramsden

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