A FORMER Malmesbury mayor wants to highlight heart attack symptoms in women in the hope that it can save a life.

Malmesbury town councillor Julie Exton suffered a heart attack in January after not recognising early warnings signs.

The 57-year-old ignored indigestion type pain in her shoulder and under her arm around the armpit for a number of days before the pain worsened and she called 101.

Julie said: “I went to the doctors on the second day I had it and I was given Gaviscon. It felt like indigestion.

“After a few days it was so bad that I phoned 101.

“It took me by surprise when the operator said she was calling me an ambulance, I thought they were mad for wanting me to go to hospital for indigestion.”

While both men and women can both experience the same common symptoms when experiencing a heart attack, early indications that you’re unwell tend to be different for each gender.

Only around half of the women who have heart attacks, experience the constrictive chest pain typically associated with a heart attack.

Typically, women tend to more commonly experience heartburn-like discomfort, neck or back pain, or nausea.

After a five hour wait and a number of tests, the doctor revealed to Julie that she had suffered a heart attack.

“I always thought a heart attack was a bad pain in the chest, but it was none of that,” said Julie said.

“It was just several days of really bad indigestion.

“They did a scan in hospital and said two of the arteries were blocked and they needed to put stents in.”

Julie, who was elected Malmesbury mayor in May last year, was forced to retire early from her role after the incident.

Although still on the town council, the heart attack has left her feeling ‘zapped of energy and strength’.

Julie said: “I had a second episode and I called an ambulance again and the A&E was quiet, nobody was waiting.

“Don’t let Covid-19 put it off.

“If you’re a woman who gets bad indigestion, get it checked out.

“Don’t just leave it, it can be much more serious.

“If I had known that, I wouldn’t have waited and gone through a number of days in pain and put my life at risk.”