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College of Medicine Joins National Initiative to Raise Awareness of Heart Attacks Among Women

PHILADELPHIA, June 3, 2011

Sixty seconds, sixty women suffering a heart attack, a woman suffers a heart attack every minute in the United States. Yet only half of women say they would call 9-1-1 if they thought they were having a heart attack, and many women did not recognize several key symptoms, according to a 2009 American Heart Association survey. For this reason the Women’s Health Education Program at Drexel University College of Medicine has teamed up with the Department of Health & Human Service’s Office on Women’s Health to launch a new initiative to increase awareness and recognition of the seven most common heart attack symptoms among women and encourage the use of the 9-1-1 emergency response system when these symptoms occur.

The Make the Call. Don’t Miss A Beat. campaign aims to educate, engage and empower women and their families on the seven symptoms of a heart attack that most commonly present themselves in women. The symptoms include:

• Chest pain, discomfort, pressure or squeezing
• Shortness of breath
• Nausea
• Light-headedness or sudden dizziness
• Unusual upper body pain, or discomfort in one or both arms, back, shoulder, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach
• Unusual fatigue
• Breaking out in a cold sweat

“Women often don’t think a heart attack could happen to them, yet we know that heart disease is the number one killer of women,” said Ana Núñez, M.D., associate professor and director of the Women’s Health Education Program at Drexel University College of Medicine. “Women also tend to do worse after a heart attack than men, in part, because they don’t seek immediate medical attention because they often don’t recognize the symptoms.”

The Make the Call. Don’t Miss a Beat. campaign is a national public education campaign led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. Get involved - get more information. Visit www.womenshealth.gov/heartattack. For more information about the Women’s Health Education Program at Drexel University College of Medicine, visit www.drexelmed.edu/whep.

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News media contacts:
Mikelle Nickens, Drexel University College of Medicine, 215-991-8144 or Mikelle.nickens@drexelmed.edu

Niki Gianakaris, Drexel University Office of University Communications
2154-895-6741, 215-778-7752 (cell) or ngianakaris@drexel.edu