Dr. Vimal Nanavati, an interventional cardiology physician affiliated with Sharp HealthCare, discusses women and heart disease.
Women especially should look out for little signs that are different than in men. Classically when people have heart symptoms that are coming from insufficient blood from the coronary arteries, they feel chest discomfort. Women may not feel that. Women may feel a shortness of breath — or they may feel that they can’t catch their breath. Sometimes they might feel a little dizzy, or they may feel a little fatigued. Fatigue alone may be the only symptom that women feel. So it’s very deceptive, and it’s up to doctors to know that these subtle symptoms may actually be coming from the heart.
Men, especially after the age of 40, if men have a family history of coronary disease, or if they have high blood pressure or other risk factors like diabetes or they smoke. Anytime they have any kind of discomfort in their chest or their shoulder or their arm or even their little finger, that is sufficient symptoms to warn you that it may be coming from the heart.
If I can give one message, don’t wait. Go to the emergency room. Have someone take you. Have someone drive you. Don’t you drive to the emergency room. Have someone drive you to the emergency room . Or better yet, call 911. It’s an emergency. It may not seem like an emergency, but it’s an emergency.