Blogging My Heart Out

February is Heart Health Month, and today, February 22 is Blog Your Heart Out Day. Bloggers are joining together today by speaking up about the #1 killer of women–Heart disease.


I know this all too well because I lost my mother to the disease at the much too early age of 65 (eight years after my father also died of a heart attack). Although her father had also died of heart disease, my mother had no idea that she also suffered from the disease. Women weren’t routinely checked (as many men were), and women’s symptoms are frequently different from men’s.

Women’s Heart Attack Symptoms

While women may feel that squeezing pressure that is common for men, they also frequently describe symptoms similar to flu or acid reflux. (Sadly, when we found my mother the morning after she died, we found a medical book open to a page about heartburn.) Sometimes women describe  pressure in their upper back that feels like a rope being tied around them. Lightheadedness, dizziness, or even fainting are other possible symptoms. Many women are shocked that they could be having a heart attack, and they will brush off symptoms and not call 911.

If you have any of the following signs for more than five minutes, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital immediately:

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

Making Healthy Changes

If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to make changes in your lifestyle to help prevent heart disease. Make an appointment with your health care provider to discuss your risk factors. Ask about getting a lipo-protein blood screening.

Other changes that you can make:

  1. If you smoke, quit.
  2. Start an exercise program. Walking just 30 minutes a day can lower your risk.
  3. Modify your diet if necessary. Check out these healthy eating tips from the American Heart Association.
  4. Join the Go Red for Women Movement. Make it your mission to learn about the risks for heart disease and spread the word about prevention.

Making small changes can dramatically reduce your risk. Start today! For more information about heart disease and prevention, please visit the following sites:

The American Heart Association

Go Red for Women

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    • says

      Actually, I am adopted, which doesn’t mean that I get off scot-free. I really don’t know much about my health background, so making sure I do the right things for my heart is definitely something I plan to follow through on.
      Debbie recently posted…Blogging My Heart OutMy Profile

        • says

          Thank, you’re too kind. I’ve probably talked (or blogged) about being adopted before. I don’t really think about it, it’s just a part of me. Although it’s interesting because my husband is also adopted. And just a couple years ago he found that he had a son who had been adopted as an infant.
          Debbie recently posted…Blogging My Heart OutMy Profile

  1. says

    Sorry to hear about your parents. It is so hard to remember all of these symptoms, but I think the more we read about them, the more likely we will remember when it matters.

    • says

      Thank you. It’s been a long time (25 years for my dad, almost 20 for my mom). It is important not to shrug off symptoms. Both men and women do that frequently, and I’m sure many die because they wait too long.
      Debbie recently posted…Blogging My Heart OutMy Profile

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