May is Women’s Health Month. Did you know heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women? As a survivor of a heart attack in 2018, and becoming a Mayo Clinic trained WomenHeart Champion, I want every woman to be “heart smart.” That means learning the symptoms for heart attack.

Women fill many roles — mom, wife, grandma, caregiver, boss, employee, volunteer and all-around problem solver. Women are notorious for taking care of everybody and everything before taking care of themselves.

Women’s heart attack symptoms are not like men’s. Here’s Mayo Clinic’s list: Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort; shortness of breath; pain in one or both arms; nausea or vomiting; sweating; lightheadedness or dizziness; unusual fatigue.

I had all of these warning signs, and made excuses for each one, because I was too “busy” that day to go to the Emergency Room. I self-diagnosed my discomfort as an anxiety attack. Big mistake.

Thankfully, my cardiologist and hospital saved my life by getting me to the Cath Lab and putting in two stents. Always call 911 — it’s far better to have a false alarm than to die from a heart attack.

SUSAN SMITH

Seaside

 

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