I am sure you have heard that old hit song, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” Well, my ladies, whether you’re in love or not, when you have uncomfortable feelings in your chest that persist, those signs and symptoms can have a lot to do with your survival.

The discomfort may be caused by coronary heart disease. Now, don’t panic. Chest discomfort may be caused by many things. I’m just suggesting that you and your doctor shouldn’t take these symptoms lightly. Can you believe that a great deal of chest pain can be caused by those heavy shoulder bags that are carried daily?

Although men and women have the same four-chamber muscular pumps known as the heart, it sends and receives signals that are not always the same when it becomes injured. Just remember, the male heart is a “testosterone” heart and the women’s heart is an “estrogen” heart. With just this fact, one has to consider how the heart reacts to certain stimuli, whether it be chemical, emotional or even to stress.

Until recently, the same symptoms that a male would experience suggesting that he may be experiencing early signs of a heart attack were overlooked when a woman also experienced other symptoms that were related to her heart but ignored by herself and the physician. She was therefore treated differently and often misdiagnosed.

Now let’s get to the chase. A women’s signs and symptoms of a heart attack may present with the following symptoms:

• Sudden, profound fatigue.

• Throat tightness.

• Shortness of breath.

• Pain or tingling of the jaw, or elbow with pain radiating down the left arm.

• Back discomfort.

• Indigestion or a feeling that if you could burp, the feeling of fullness would go away.

• Nausea and vomiting.

• Lightheadedness with exertion.

• Dizziness and a feeling of spinning around.

• Profuse sweating with activity.

Often, any combination of the above symptoms may often be considered unimportant. However, a heart attack could be in the making. When presented with these symptoms in a doctor’s office or in a hospital, even an EKG may not show any abnormalities. What am I saying? It is lifesaving to have adequate blood and other diagnostic tests to detect early heart disease. This may include a stress test and other cardiac imagery.

As I mentioned before, not all chest pain is caused by cardiac disease. Similar symptoms can present because of reflux acid (gas), upper respiratory tract infections, over exertion during exercise, viral infections, certain foods that contain caffeine, such as chocolate, coffee and cocoa, MSG (monosodium glutamate), dietary overindulgences, alcohol, over-the-counter cold remedies and a host of other chemicals in the form of prescriptions that we take into our bodies.

Just remember, ladies, I want you to have a long, healthy life with daily exercise, low cholesterol foods, reduced stress, enough sleep and to laugh out loud, even if it’s in the shower! Dance to your own music.