Dr. Iva Smolens introduces herself and shares the most common heart disease symptoms in women.
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Hi, I am Dr. Iva Smolens, director of the Women’s Heart Center. Women commonly experience symptoms that are very different from men and actually different from the classic teachings of heart disease symptoms. Typically, we are all familiar with the symptoms of left-sided chest pain radiating into the jaw or the left arm. Women actually present with very different symptoms. They may in fact have left-sided chest pain, but more often women who present with heart attacks present with nausea and vomiting. They can present with back or shoulder pain. They can present with chest pain or shortness of breath is a common complaint, and many women presenting with heart attacks actually have a complaint of a prodrome of about four or five days of flu-like symptoms. Women tend to have different symptoms than men for a variety of reasons. Nobody really has pinned down the actual root cause of why that is true, but I think women tend to sit at home sicker for a longer period of time than men and so I think they allow the symptoms to occur for a while before they even present.