Parish Nurse Notes – Nov 2016

As I was reading my September 2016 issue of the American Journal of Nursing, I encountered an article that I feel is important to share a portion of with you.

Debra L. Campo is chair of Level I at St. Joseph School of Nursing, Providence, R.I. She explains the difference in symptoms of myocardial infarction (heart attack) between males and
females. She states, “According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women as well as men. More than 1 in 3 adult women have some form of CVD. And CVD was responsible for the deaths of 400,000 American women in 2011.”

The signs and symptoms of heart attack are different for women than men and harder to recognize. The most common symptoms of heart attack in men are crushing chest pain, collapse and sweating. This is not necessarily so in women. We are much more likely to present with fatigue, shortness of breath, neck pain, RIGHT arm pain, jaw pain, fainting or dizziness, or nausea and

vomiting. However, we can also have the same symptoms as men. Women may also have symptoms well in advance of an actual heart attack for days, weeks, or even months.

We all need to be aware of the possibility of heart disease in women, especially if there is a history of other risk factors– smoking, obesity, diabetes, poor diet, lack of exercise. The sooner treatment is obtained, the greater opportunity for preserving heart muscle function!

So, please be aware this group of symptoms may be serious, and seek medical help.


-Pat Vest, RN, BSN, FCN