Each February, the American Heart Association (AHA) shines a spotlight on the number one killer of all Americans – heart disease – through a variety of awareness events.

While heart disease is a risk for all Americans, women are still at a greater risk. In fact, cardiovascular diseases cause one in three women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute. Over the last 10 years, AHA has made remarkable progress through its Go Red for Women Campaign; however, there is still much work to do. Nearly 1,100 women are still dying each day

A large portion of our nursing population consists of women. As we know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, sometimes we ignore or overlook the “non-traditional” signs and symptoms listed below:

Heart Attack Signs in Women

1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.

2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

If you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.