At St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund every month, we work with truck drivers that have experienced the devastating effects of a heart attack. After a heart attack, the heart is very weak and that can cause several concerns for the body and its recovery. A good diet is key to a healthy lifestyle but that’s only one step in the recovery process. After a heart attack, people may experience shortness of breath and chest pain. While the majority of the drivers are men, we have also talked with women who have had a heart attack. One day a driver is driving down the road and the next day, she wakes up in the hospital. No one can predict when something like this is going to happen.
Many trucking companies are proposing first aid training for their staff members, so they are aware of what they need to do if first aid is needed. Employees are taught the “signs and symptoms” of a heart attack. Those “symptoms” can be very different in a woman. Women may experience typical symptoms but they need to be aware of the other symptoms and take those symptoms seriously.
Below is a list of symptoms that may be experienced by women:
- Discomfort just behind the breastbone (described as “heaviness,” “tightness,” “pressure”)
- Chest pain is not necessary for a woman to be having a heart attack
- The pain may radiate or extend to the shoulder, jaw or inner aspect of the arm
- Shortness of breath (perhaps without chest pain)
- Sweating (often a cold sweat)
- Extreme fatigue
- Inability to sleep, which is unusual or particularly severe
- Skin becomes pale, clammy
- Dizziness/lightheadedness/feeling faint
If you experience any of these symptoms, please call 911 immediately.
Don’t have a ‘wait and see’ attitude. Don’t mistake chest pain for indigestion, heartburn or a stomach ulcer.
It could cost you so much more than lost work time. It could cost you your life.