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6 Symptoms of Women's Heart Attacks

What NOT to Do

If you feel heart attack symptoms:

  • Don’t delay getting help. "Women generally wait longer than men before going to the emergency room," says Rita F. Redberg, MD, MSc, FACC, director of Women's Cardiovascular Services for the UCSF Division of Cardiology in San Francisco. Even if you think your symptoms aren’t that bad or will pass, the stakes are too high.
  • Don't drive yourself to the hospital. You need an ambulance. If you drive, you could have a wreck on the way and possibly hurt yourself or someone else.
  • Don’t have a friend or relative drive you, either. You may not get there fast enough.
  • Don’t dismiss what you feel. "Don't worry about feeling silly if you're wrong," Goldberg says. You have to get it checked out right away.  

"People don't want to spend hours in an emergency room if it isn't a heart attack," Bairey Merz says. "But women are actually good at deciding what is typical for themselves and when to seek health care."

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Reviewed on January 30, 2013

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