If your husband has chest pain, you rush him to the hospital. However, many women would not recognize signs of heart attack in themselves.
Many people are unaware that heart attack symptoms in women can be quite different from men's. In fact, most people don't have a plan of action if faced with possible heart attack. Yet acting quickly is vitally important.
Atherosclerosis is the process of narrowing and hardening of the arteries due to plaque buildup in the inner lining of arteries. It's the key cause of heart attacks and strokes and the No. 1 killer in the U.S.
When it comes to developing health risks from atherosclerosis, some people are at higher risk than others. But because atherosclerosis is silent until it's advanced, estimating one's health risk takes some educated guesswork.
How can you determine your risk? The risk factors are easy...
"Getting immediate, appropriate care is the single most important thing you can do to lessen the damage of a heart attack," says Prediman K. Shah, MD, director of cardiology and atherosclerosis research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in New York City, in a news release.
Dial 911 for an ambulance. "Do not waste time trying to reach your own doctor," says Shah. "Don't drive yourself or someone else to the hospital ... don't call a cab."
Why? "Because within the first few hours after a heart attack, there is a high risk of sudden fatal arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats), and only ambulances with fire department personnel or paramedics are equipped to revive you should your heart suddenly stop beating," says Shah.
"Remember, every minute of delay means more heart muscle is damaged," he says. "When it comes to heart attack, time is muscle."
Symptoms of a Heart Attack -- in Both Men and Women: