top of page

Heart Disease - Do You Know the Warning Signs?

Did you know that heart disease ranked as the number one cause of death before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S? To make matters worse, heart disease disproportionately affects African-American women at a higher rate than Caucasian women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 6% of Mexican American women, 6.1% of white women, and 6.5% of African-American women have coronary heart disease (CDC 2017). Furthermore, almost two-thirds or 64% of women who did die suddenly from heart disease did not exhibit any warning signs, nor had previous symptoms.

The American Heart Association reports heart disease kills nearly 50,000 African-American women each year (AHA 2019). It is startling to learn the AHA reports most women are unaware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack (AHA 2019). It is especially important to understand the warning signs of a heart attack can be very different for women and men. Recognizing the warning signs of a heart attack or stroke can save your life or someone else’s. So, let’s get familiar with the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack and stroke.

Warning signs of a heart attack:

  • A feeling of uncomfortable pressure in the center of your chest

  • Squeezing-like sensations in the center of your chest (this feeling can last for a few minutes, go away, and come back)

  • Pain or numbness in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach

  • Sudden or frequent shortness of breath (with or without chest discomfort)

  • Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness

  • Feeling extreme fatigue like you want to take a nap

  • Shortness of breath, sudden or unexplained jaw pain, nausea, and vomiting, which may feel similar to indigestion

If you or a loved one experiences any of these signs or symptoms, it is important to first call 911. Then, get a baby aspirin and chew it. If possible, put the broken aspirin under the tongue, which can help with allowing the aspirin to enter the blood stream quicker.

Warning signs of a possible stroke: