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Heart attack delay warning

Women with dull chest or stomach pain may not realise they are having a heart attack because they do not recognise the symptoms, a charity has said.

Although "classic" symptoms such as sharp chest pain are well known, women are more likely to experience "unusual" symptoms such as a dull pain, ache or heavy feeling in their chests, pain that spreads to the back or stomach, or mild chest discomfort together with feeling generally unwell.

A British Heart Foundation poll found 33% of women thought only crushing chest pain indicated a heart attack, but warned that symptom was more common in men. Heart attacks cause 90,000 deaths every year, but a third of people die before reaching hospital, often because they do not call for help in time.

BHF said women need to know all the "unusual" signs of a heart attack, which also include feeling light-headed or dizzy and pain that resembles strong indigestion.

Dr Mike Knapton, BHF associate medical director, said: "Heart attack symptoms do affect people differently so it is vital that women - and men - familiarise themselves with them and remember that by calling 999 they are giving themselves the best possible chance at surviving."

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