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Day 8: Know the 7 Symptoms of Women's Heart Attack

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Patricia Butts, First Lady of Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church, has written these rap lyrics to help women remember the seven signs of a woman's heart attack (check out the slide show) -- not the same as for a man. Once you learn the lyrics and catch the beat there's great cardio choreography to go with them from dayofdance.org.

More than 80,000 people participated in past year's Day of Dance. Doctors, nurses, patients, and health care workers have produced and posted smashingly fun YouTube video performances in more than 78 facilities around the U.S. For example, click here to catch Gulf Coast Medical's performance of "Don't Miss a Beat Call 911."

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Feb. 25, 2012 is this year's Day of Dance for Health. Will Ellen DeGeneres give it a try? She's still got 17 days to bust the moves.

Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. and among women. Every 90 seconds, a woman in the U.S. has a heart attack. Every year 785,000 people have their first heart attack. In 2010, heart disease cost Americans an estimated $316.4 billion.

But the cost of heart disease is not only financial; missing timely treatment of heart attack causes infirmity, which drains quality of life from American families. Eileen Dreczka of Sheboygan, Wisc. is a WomenHeart member. She recently told a Yale Heart Study colleague of mine that she was misdiagnosed with pneumonia, later to find out she had congestive heart failure. Dreczka "doesn't want this to happen to anyone else," and allowed us to share her story.

According Suzanne Haynes, Ph.D., Senior Science Advisor to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health, these are the seven signs of heart attack for women.

  1. Unusually heavy pressure on the chest, like there's a ton of weight on you
  2. Sharp upper body pain in the neck, back, and jaw
  3. Severe shortness of breath
  4. Cold sweats, and you know it's not menopause
  5. Unusual or unexplained fatigue (tiredness)
  6. Unfamiliar dizziness or light-headedness
  7. Unexplained nausea (feeling sick to the stomach) or vomiting

Now let's take it from the top -- one, two, three, four:

If you know the symptoms and get the facts
You'll know the signs of a heart attack.
Women, listen to me and when I'm done
If it sounds familiar, call 911

Pain in your chest, neck, arms or jaw
Shortness of breath, please tell us more
Cold sweats and nausea, tiredness
it's time to take it serious.

Back pain, Stomach pain, shortness of breath
Cold sweats, nausea, dizziness.

If you know the symptoms and heed the signs
You'll be around for a long, long time
Women, listen to me and when I'm done
If any sound familiar, call 911.
911, 911, 911...

See you tomorrow!

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Please take a few minutes to visit the Yale Heart Study site and complete the heart attack survivors survey or forward it to someone you know who has survived a heart attack.

Disclosure: Suzanne O'Malley is a Senior Research Associate for the non-profit NIH-funded Yale Heart Study, a Faculty member of the Yale Writers' Conference & Associate/Director of Yale Summer Film Institute.

For more by Suzanne O'Malley, click here.

For more on personal health, click here.

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