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Women Age 55 and Younger Need to Learn Heart Attack Signs

Researchers have reported that women younger than 55 often don't recognize the signs of a heart attack, even when they experience severe chest pain, which is a classic, common symptom. In a pilot study, the researchers studied 24 women who were 55 and younger who had had heart attacks and been admitted to two hospitals in Connecticut. About 90 percent of the women in the study reported that they had had chest pain that rated higher than 7 on a scale of 1 to 10, but only 42 percent of these women thought they had anything wrong with their hearts. Many thought they had indigestion or heartburn.

In addition to chest pain, other symptoms the women had included

  • Jaw or shoulder pain
  • Perspiring
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Extreme tiredness

It's important for all women, no matter what their age, to know that when you have any of these symptoms, you need to go to the emergency room. The earlier you receive treatment for a heart attack, the less heart muscle damage you're likely to experience.

American Heart Association's 8th Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke

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