Listen To Your Heart!

By: Jessa Goddard Email
By: Jessa Goddard Email

Knoxville (WVLT) Regis Philbin, co-host of the talk show Live with Regis and Kelly seen every weekday morning on Volunteer TV says he will undergo heart bypass surgery this week.

75 year old Philbin says he made the decision after consulting doctors after feeling chest pain and shortness of breath.

Medical Reporter Jessa Goddard has more on the symptoms of a heart attack and how they differ for men and women.

Philbin is undergoing heart bypass surgery, which is done when coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle, are blocked or narrowed, making heart attacks more likely.

But for many people, bypass surgery comes too late.

The chest pain and shortness of breath that Regis reports to have experienced are classic symptoms of a heart attack.

Chest related heart attack signs more often appear in men, though many women get them, too.

Including, pressure, fullness or a squeezing pain in the center of the chest, which may spread to the neck, shoulder or jaw.

And, chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.

But many women don't have chest pain, at all.

In a recent study on early female heart attack symptoms, researchers found during a heart attack, 43 percent of women had no chest pain.

A hallmark symptom in men.

One reason why interventional cardiologist Dr. Malcolm Foster says men and women should know their heart attack risk.

"The most important risk factor is age. So, any woman over the age of 55, for example, if they're having symptoms ought to consider heart."

Common heart attack symptoms in women include shortness of breath, weakness and unusual fatigue.

But also, nausea, dizziness, lower chest discomfort, upper abdominal pressure, like indigestion and back pain.

One of the most obvious risk factors for heart attack for both men and women is carrying extra weight around the waist.

"So, waist size over 40 for men, and for women, over 36, and then the distribution of fat is important. So, in women, if it's abdominal, the apples, more than hips, the pears, a little more abdominal distribution of fat is more predictive of heart disease."

Female heart attack symptoms are often missed and dismissed.

Knowing yours could save your heart, and your life.

Many women are reluctant to call 911 if they're suffering the symptoms of a heart attack, out of embarrassment if they're not having one.

But doctors say wait no more than five minutes, and have an ambulance take you to the emergency room.

That way, emergency medical personnel can start treatment right away.

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