Heart Attacks in Women

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Quick GuideHeart Health Pictures Slideshow: 12 Possible Heart Symptoms Never to Ignore

Heart Health Pictures Slideshow: 12 Possible Heart Symptoms Never to Ignore

One of my family members had a heart attack. Does that mean I'll have one too?

If your dad or brother had a heart attack before age 55, or if your mom or sister had one before age 65, you're more likely to develop heart disease. This does not mean you will have a heart attack. It means you should take extra good care of your heart to keep it healthy.

Sometimes my heart beats really fast and other times it feels like my heart skips a beat. Am I having a heart attack?

Most people have changes in their heartbeat from time to time. These changes in heartbeat are, for most people, harmless. As you get older, you're more likely to have heartbeats that feel different. Don't panic if you have a few flutters or if your heart races once in a while. If you have flutters and other symptoms such as dizziness or shortness of breath (feeling like you can't get enough air), call 911.

Should I take a daily aspirin to prevent heart attack?

Aspirin may be helpful for women at high risk, such as women who have already had a heart attack. Aspirin can have serious side effects and may be harmful when mixed with certain medicines. If you're thinking about taking aspirin, talk to your doctor first. If your doctor thinks aspirin is a good choice for you, be sure to take it exactly as your doctor tells you to.

Does taking birth control pills increase my risk for heart disease?

Taking birth control pills is generally safe for young, healthy women if they do not smoke. But birth control pills can pose heart disease risks for some women, especially women older than 35; women with high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol; and women who smoke. Talk with your doctor if you have questions about the pill.

If you're taking birth control pills, watch for signs of trouble, including:

If you have any of these symptoms, call 911.

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