Heart attack symptoms are often different for women

Inova Loudoun Hospital Urges Women to Recognize the Signs of Heart Attack

Heart attacks are commonly associated with devastating chest pain. But for women, the symptoms are often more subtle.

“Everybody always thinks of a heart attack as crushing chest pain, but evidence and research says that women present quite differently,” says David Reich, Director of Inova Heart and Vascular Institute (IHVI) and Cardiac Diagnostic Services.

Women may experience subtler heart attack symptoms including chest pressure or discomfort; shortness of breath; pain in the arm, back, neck, jaw or stomach; fatigue; dizziness; nausea or vomiting; lightheadedness; palpitations; or sweating or a cold or clammy feeling.

“Awareness is key — just knowing the signs and symptoms and paying attention to how you feel,” Reich says.

Preventing Problems

When it comes to prevention, talking to your doctor is a good first step, says Reich.
“The conversation starts with your primary care provider,” he says. “Talk about your family history and your individual lifestyle: diet, exercise and stress level — those things that we know contribute to cardiovascular disease and, of course, potential heart attack.”

At the Schaufeld Family Heart Center, a 15,000-square-foot facility located on the Lansdowne campus of Inova Loudoun Hospital, leading-edge services including diagnosis, evaluation, education, treatment and rehabilitation are available. Cardiac specialists provide comprehensive care including invasive and non-invasive cardiac services, as well as vascular care and a full spectrum of interventional radiology services.

“The IHVI team is here 24 hours a day, seven days a week for any emergent cardiovascular needs that arise. We are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for routine procedures,” says Reich. “We also offer diagnostic services so you can get relatively low-cost exams to provide answers about your overall cardiac health. Even something as simple as a resting EKG can provide a lot of information that we wouldn’t otherwise know.”

Healthy Hearts

To schedule an appointment at Inova Heart and Vascular Institute at Inova Loudoun Hospital, call 703.858.8660.

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