Heart Attack A U.S. study has confirmed that women do not always recognize a heart attack. In some cases their doctors may even mistake their symptoms for stress, panic or hypochondria.

According to C. Noel Bairey Merz, medical director of the Women’s Health Program and the Preventive and Rehabilitative Cardiac Center at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, women may experience subtle symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, and back and jaw pain.

Men, on the other hand, often experience the traditional symptoms of heart attacks such as pressure, squeezing chest pain.

Getting oneself immediate and appropriate care is the most important thing that one can do to help lessen the damage of a heart attack, advises Bairey Merz.

If you do suspect that you are having a heart attack, here are some steps to follow:

  • Call your doctor or hospital immediately. Do not try to reach your doctor by driving yourself there. Every minute of delay means more heart muscle is damaged.
  • Chew on one aspirin. Most heart attacks are generally caused by blood clots in the arteries. Aspirin reduces the growth of these blood clots.
  • If the person is not breathing, one must perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on the person.