The seven words that could save your life


“I think I’m having a heart attack.”

Don’t beat around the bush, ladies. If you suspect a heart attack, come right out and say it. Then say it again if you have to. Say it when you call 911. Say it when the ambulance comes. Say it when you get to the hospital--say it to everyone you meet along the way until you get the help you need:

“I think I’m having a heart attack.”

If you don’t say it, the doc in the ER--or even your own doctor, no matter how good he is--could actually MISS the warning signs of a heart attack. He could miss it, because believe it or not...

He probably doesn’t even know what they are!

Sure, there’s the classic tightness in the chest... an ache like you’re being squeezed on the inside. And there’s that telltale pain that shoots down the arm.

But that’s in MEN. Just 43 percent of women feel sharp chest pain during a heart attack, and nearly a third feel no chest pain at all--and believe it or not, many doctors aren’t even aware of this.

And if you’re a guy you need to hear this too because knowing it could literally save the life of someone you care about one day. Most of the studies on heart attacks are on men, so docs look for the typical male warning signs. But the symptoms in women are so different that docs aren’t the only ones who miss them completely. Women do, too.

So you have women who don’t seek help because they don’t know they’re having a heart attack, and docs who dismiss the ones who do go to the emergency department because they think something’s wrong... but they don’t know what it is.

No wonder heart attacks are deadlier in women!

Well, I’m here to even the score and give women a fighting chance--so remember these three words: KNOW, SEEK and TEACH.

KNOW the warning signs... SEEK help when you experience them... and TEACH your doctor if he’s too thick to figure out you might be having a heart attack.

And what you need to KNOW starts with the...


The most common heart attack warning sign in women--one reported by more than half--is shortness of breath. But when women start huffing and puffing, many just think it’s a sign they’re out of shape... or just getting older. They certainly don’t think they’re having a heart attack.

But if you’re huffing and puffing for no reason--huffing and puffing while just sitting down, or out of breath while doing something that’s never left you gasping for air before--SEEK help.

You could be having a heart attack--and any one of those labored breaths could be your last. In many women, shortness of breath is the ONLY warning sign of a heart attack--but half of all women feel sudden weakness, either with that shortness of breath or entirely on its own.

And more than 40 percent of women find themselves battling sudden and unusual fatigue.

Other signs to watch for are feelings similar to a hot flash, or a weird sensation of being hot and cold at the same time. You might even break into a sweat for no apparent reason.

Also watch for dizziness, nausea, indigestion and heartburn--especially if they come on for no apparent reason.

Some women of course do feel the classic chest pain, while others feel chest pain--but not at all in the classic sense: It’s chest pain that extends to the back, shoulders, neck, arms and even jaw.

Sometimes soreness is just soreness and heartburn is just heartburn, but you know your body. You know when it feels right--and, more importantly, you know when it feels wrong.

And if it seems even a little bit wrong, don’t dismiss it and don’t be afraid to SEEK help. Call 911 and use those seven words:

“I think I’m having a heart attack.”

Once you’re in the emergency department, don’t count on the doc to make the connection. Like I said earlier, he’s looking for classic chest pain--so you’ll need to TEACH him that the signs are different in women.

And whatever you do, do not let him send you home you until you get an ECG, enzyme diagnostic test or another test that can make sure your ticker’s still ticking right.

But you can’t do any of this without that first step: KNOW.

So don’t just read this article--commit the warning signs to memory so you’ll KNOW them when it matters most.

If you’re a woman, clip this out and put it on the fridge. If you’re a man, KNOW these warning signs so you can help if necessary. Then, be sure to share what you know with the women in your life--your wife, daughter, sister, neighbor, friends and loved ones--because they need to know this, too.

Knowledge is power... and this knowledge is the power to save a life.