Q. I’ve heard heart attack symptoms can be different in women. What should I look out for?
A. The symptoms of a heart attack can be much more subtle than sudden chest pain. These subtle symptoms occur more often in women than in men.
The other symptoms to be aware of include shortness of breath, cold sweats, fatigue, jaw and back pain, palpitations or heart racing, and gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea and indigestion.
When the symptoms are not what they expect, women might not seek care. Ignoring symptoms can have drastic consequences. Pay attention to your body and new symptoms. Call 911 and get to a hospital right away if you experience any of the following:
• Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest lasting more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back.
• Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
• Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
• Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
• Chest pain or discomfort.
Be as detailed as possible when describing your symptoms to the doctor. This helps ensure you are diagnosed correctly.
— Monica Thukral, ANP, Samaritan Cardiology – Corvallis
Q: I’ve just entered my mid-40’s and
I heard you should begin colorectal cancer screenings at age 45. I’m in generally good health. Do I need to rush and get this test based on the new recommended age?
A: Truthfully, regardless of being in good health or not, it’s always important to follow standard guidelines when it comes to cancer screenings. This should really be the rule of thumb for any recommended screening because the primary goal is to help with early detection of cancer.
So why make getting a colorectal cancer screening a priority? Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., with 1 in 25 women receiving this diagnosis.
It is also one of the most preventable when caught and treated early, with survival rates around 90%. Finally, we are seeing more and more cases of younger people with colorectal cancer, which was the driver for the guideline change.
You may have heard concerns expressed about the procedure. Several colorectal screening options are available, all of which have pros and cons regarding cost, time, discomfort and accuracy. It is always best to talk with your health care provider about which option is right for you.
The most important thing, though, is to not delay. Cancer screenings truly save lives.
— Robert Davis, MD, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center Hematology & Oncology
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