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This is a sponsored article from Bayer® Aspirin
In the movies, a heart attack is depicted as a dramatic moment—the person clutching his or her chest (usually his) and crying out in pain. In reality, women can suffer a heart attack without any chest pain. The experience might feel like extreme fatigue, pain in the back or jaw or light-headedness. With such apparently small symptoms, a life or death moment can be hard to spot.
It's important for women to know how to identify a heart attack and what to do when it happens.
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women. Heart attacks kill more than 250,000 women a year in the United States, yet many can't name the signs that are unique to women. Look out for:
- Pressure or fullness in your chest that lasts more than a few minutes or dissipates and returns
- Shortness of breath, with or without chest pain
- Nausea, cold sweats or light-headedness
- Pain in your arms, neck, back or jaw
- Extreme fatigue
Women are more likely than men to experience these other symptoms with or without chest pain. If you experience these symptoms, call 911 or the emergency number in your neighborhood and chew aspirin as directed by a doctor. It's important to act quickly to limit damage to the heart.
Heart attacks usually develop when an area of plaque in your arteries breaks open, causing a blood clot to form. If the blood clot grows too large, it will block the flow of blood to the heart. The part of the heart that doesn't receive blood begins to die.
Taking aspirin prevents the blood's ability to clot. By inhibiting the growth of the blood clot, some blood may be able to reach the heart to prevent further damage.
If you've had a heart attack, your health care professional may recommend taking a low-dose aspirin daily. It will help prevent clots that can lead to a heart attack. However, always check with your doctor before starting aspirin therapy.