SAINT PAUL, Minn. — February is Hearth Health Month, and this week we're talking about heart attacks.
It's important to note that they may show up differently between men and women.
"There is some differences, and you'll see in the press that women often have not the classic symptoms we talk about," said cardiologist Dr. Joe Browning.
Those classic symptoms are chest pain, shortness of breath, profuse sweating and feeling lightheaded. For women, the difference is usually location.
"A lot more GI (gastrointestinal) type of symptoms," Dr. Browning explained. "Nausea, kind of a heart-burn type sensation."
When it comes to heart disease, there are several factors no one has control over - like family history and age. Dr. Browning points out that men are at risk earlier in life.
"Men's risk starts to elevate in their 50s, women we tend to see in their 60s," he said.
Dr. Browning says the first step if you feel a heart attack coming on is to chew three or four baby-sized aspirin and then call 911. He says chewing the aspirin increases the absorption into your body.
Thankfully, there are preventative measures to help avoid a heart attack.
"The first one is just getting in to see your doctor," Dr. Browning said. "Looking at the risk factors, identifying where there are areas of improvement with regards to blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes."
If you smoke, stop now, he said.
"That is probably the biggest factor when it comes to heart disease," he explained.
Dr. Browning adds that getting your body moving, even if it's just parking further away from the store, can make a big difference when it comes to heart health.
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