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Cardiovascular disease is very common in women. The warning signals of heart attack include:
- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
However, women are more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain, such as:
- Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort.
- Shortness of breath.
- Pain in one or both arms.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Lightheadedness or dizziness.
- Unusual fatigue.
In the presence of any of the above, one should not wait for more than five minutes and get to a hospital right away.
More than 80% of cardiac events in women can be prevented by modifying diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking.