connectVideoFebruary is American Heart Month: Dr. Oz shares heart-healthy tips
A New York woman who survived a so-called “silent” heart attack with her experience to show others how the symptoms of the sometimes fatal event is not always immediately clear.
Tasha Benjamin, who lives in East Syracuse, New York, told CNYCentral she suffered from a silent heart attack — a heart attack that has only a few or no symptoms at all — in 2014.
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The busy mother of four never thought that the “subtle pain in the chest,” jaw and low back pain, nausea, and dizziness she was experiencing were signs of the potentially deadly medical emergency.
“You can’t always be the feeling of an elephant sitting on your chest, which is sometimes related to having a heart attack. It may just be you feel nauseous and dizzy and you can say ” oh, it’s something I ate or I could be tired,” Benjamin said.
Indeed, the Symptoms of a heart attack may differ between the sexes, and, according to the Mayo Clinic, women are “more likely than men to heart-attack symptoms related to chest pain,” which is a common sign of a heart attack.
Neck, jaw, shoulder and upper back pain can be a sign of a heart attack in women, such as abdominal pain, the Mayo Clinic says. Shortness of breath, pain in one or both arms, nausea or vomiting, sweating, and “unusual” or extreme fatigue are additional signs.
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Benjamin was aware of her heart attack when she saw her doctor for a physical and underwent an electrocardiogram, more commonly known as an ECG. The procedure checks the rhythm of the heart and also the cause of a heart attack.
“If I don’t go for my physical, I would never have had the ECG, I would never have known I had a heart attack,” she told CNY Central.
Benjamin told me about her experience in the light of the American Heart Association National Wear Red Day, which takes place on Feb. 1 per year. The event raises awareness about heart disease, specifically in women.
“I am pleased that we have the time to bring it to light, because it happens, unfortunately,” she added.
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In total, about 735,000 people in the u.s. suffer a heart attack each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Persons with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or who smoke have a risk for developing heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack. In addition, people with diabetes, a poor diet, or who are overweight, among other medical conditions, are also at risk of having a heart attack, according to the CDC.