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Heart Attack Sign Women

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Monday 25 October 2021

Heart Attack Signs for Women

Did you know that common emergency symptoms can differ for men and women? Often chest pain is thought to be the most common symptom for a heart attack and it is common in men. However, only about half of all women who have a heart attack actually report having chest pain.

Early treatment is critical for both heart attacks and strokes, two of Australias biggest killers. Knowing the common emergency symptoms and seeking immediate medical attention could save your life or save your loved one.

Heart Attack Warning Signs

While some heart attacks are sudden and intense, many start less noticeably, with mild pain or discomfort at first. The most common heart attack symptom, for both men and women, is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomitting, and back or jaw pain.

The American Heart Association lists the below as the major signs of a heart attack:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Other signs, including breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness

Common Symptoms In Men

Another common symptom of heart attack in men is pain or discomfort in one or more of the following areas:

  • jaw

Risk factors for heart attack can apply to both women and men. These include factors like family history, diet, and lack of physical activity.

According to researchers in a , women ages 18 to 55 have a higher rate of certain medical conditions that may increase their risk of a heart attack.

Some of these conditions include:

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • kidney failure
  • cancer
  • mental health conditions

Certain risk factors that apply to both men and women may be experienced differently by women, such as:

  • High blood pressure. High blood pressure may develop during pregnancy or as a side effect of birth control pills.
  • High cholesterol. While estrogen can protect women against high cholesterol, levels of this hormone tend to drop after menopause.
  • Smoking. Both men and women smoke, but its been reported that women are less likely to quit successfully.

Women also have a

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What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Attack

The major symptoms of a heart attack are

  • Chest pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
  • Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint. You may also break out into a cold sweat.
  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders.
  • Shortness of breath. This often comes along with chest discomfort, but shortness of breath also can happen before chest discomfort.

Other symptoms of a heart attack could include unusual or unexplained tiredness and nausea or vomiting. Women are more likely to have these other symptoms. Learn more about women and heart disease.

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack.1Learn more facts about heart attack and heart disease.

What Should I Do If I Think Someone Else Is Having A Heart Attack

Heart Health

If a friend, family member or coworker is experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 right away. If the person dismisses her symptoms, gently but firmly encourage her to seek medical care. Its better to get help for a false alarm than to risk disability or death by ignoring signs of a heart attack. If the person is unconscious and doesnt have a pulse, begin CPR. Learning CPR is an invaluable life-saving skill. It can help keep a patient alive until emergency help arrives.

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What Women Need To Know About Subtle Heart Attack Symptoms

Heart disease is the cause of about one in every three deaths in the United States. Its the leading cause of death for men and women, yet its a common misconception that men are at greater risk for heart problems than women.

Many people assume that only older individuals, particular older men, are at risk for heart attack. But if your heart health is compromised, a heart attack can happen at any age and to either sex.

The most common symptom of a heart attack is chest pain for both women and men. But women are more likely to suffer a heart attack with more subtle symptoms, which makes recognizing a heart attack more difficult unless you know what to look for.

At NJ Cardiovascular Institute, our team is here to help you understand the most common signs of heart attacks in women. We regularly diagnose and treat heart disease to help women of all ages live longer, healthier lives.

When To See A Doctor

The British Heart Foundation recommend all women over 40 years of age have regular checks with their doctor. This helps identify risk factors early so that they can be treated. Early intervention reduces the chances of a cardiac event.

Anyone who notices the warning signs of a heart attack, such as the following, should see a doctor immediately:

  • unusual fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • upper body pain

A doctor will note symptoms, check blood pressure and heart rate, and may order blood tests or use an electrocardiogram to see the hearts electrical activity.

Only 65 percent of women would call emergency services if they suspected they were having a heart attack, according to a 2012 survey .

Emergency treatment can save lives. Anyone noticing the following symptoms should call an ambulance immediately, especially if the signs are present for 5 minutes or more:

  • chest pain or discomfort
  • pain in the upper body, including arms, back, neck, jaw, or shoulder
  • difficulty breathing

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How Men And Women Experience Heart Attack

Women and men can experience the signs and symptoms of a heart attack differently.

Men may experience:

  • shortness of breath
  • sweating

Although chest pain is thought to be the most common symptom of heart attack and it is common in men only about half of all women who have a heart attack actually report chest pain.

Women’s Heart Attack Symptoms Can Differ From Men’s

Heart attack signs and symptoms in women

Heart attack symptoms in women can be a bit different from those in men. Women tend to ignore the symptoms because they can be quite subtle.

While chest pain is the most common sign of heart attack for both men and women, some women just have a feeling of tightness, pressure or discomfort in their chest. So, if youre a woman, how do you know if you are having a heart attack?

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Are The Warning Signs Of Heart Attacks Different For Women

Heart attacks happen when the blood flow that supplies needed oxygen to the heart is cut off. A buildup of fat, cholesterol or plaque in the arteries can block blood to the heart. We often imagine sharp, dramatic chest pain when we think about a heart attack. But thats not always the case, especially in women. Chest pain is a leading warning sign of a heart attack in women, just as it is in men. However, women dont always experience chest pressure. Women often experience more subtle signs that may lead to confusion. Women may think they have another condition like the flu and ignore symptoms. According to the American Heart Association, signs of a heart attack in women can include:

  • Pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen
  • Upper back pressure
  • Menopause and age: women 55 and older are at the highest risk
  • Pregnancy or a history of preeclampsia
  • Family history of early heart disease
  • Inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus

What Causes Heart Attack

Youll agree when I say knowing the causes is more important than learning about the symptoms of heart blockage in women.

Heart attacks in females occur for many reasons.

For starters, we experience immense stress daily. It aint easy balancing personal life, career, home, and kids together!

But studies show that long-term stress is one of the biggest causes of heart attacks in women.

It will affect your eating habits, hormone levels, and blood pressure and raise the risk of coronary diseases.

Were also not paying attention to our diets.

Eating unhealthy junk foods will definitely show some symptoms of heart blockage in females later on. High cholesterol and hypertension are owed to consuming rich fatty foods.

And lets not forget the lack of physical activities. Another major cause of a sudden spike in heart conditions.

So all in all, leading a healthy lifestyle = reduced risk of silent signs of heart attack in women.

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What Are The Risk Factors For Women’s Heart Disease

While several traditional risk factors for heart disease can affect both women and men, other factors may play a greater role in the onset of heart disease in women. These can include:

  • Some other risk factors which cannot be controlled include menopause, pregnancy complications like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes , age, and family history.


A family history of heart disease does increase your risk of illness and death, but researchers at the Institute have made an exciting discovery which could reduce the rate of heart attacks in women and transform the treatment of heart and vascular disease for females.

The Institutes Executive Director, Professor Jason Kovacic, was at the centre of the new sex-specific research which compared the genetic changes of men and women at risk of a heart attack, allowing for a better understanding of Australias biggest killer.

Signs of poor heart health are not always obvious, which is why it’s important to regularly monitor things like your cholesterol levels, blood pressure and glucose. It is also important to encourage the women close to you to have regular check-ups to reduce the risk of heart disease or heart attack.

Pain In Other Areas Of The Body


Heart attack pain can occur in places other than the chest, like the back, shoulders, arms, neck or jaw. According to Cleveland Clinic, when there’s a problem in the heart, such as a blocked artery, it can trigger the nerves in your heart to give a signal that something is wrong, and you’ll feel pain. Considering the vagus nerve is connected to not only the heart, but also the brain, chest, abdomen, and neck, you may feel those pain signals in other areas of the body aside from the heart region.

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Minutes Matter During A Heart Emergency

Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, it is best to be examined by a medical professional. Minutes matter. Acting fast can save your life. Dialing 911 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment.

Don’t Drive Yourself

If you are experiencing heart attack symptoms, call 911. It may save your life.

An Ambulance is More than Just a Ride to the Hospital

With a heart attack, every second counts. Calling 911 starts your care sooner, which could save your life.

Common Symptoms of Cardiovascular Disease: Dr. Kris Dosh, UP Health System – Marquette

In case of emergency, dial 911. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call:

Dont Hesitate To Call 911

Learn the signs for heart attack, and remember: Even if youre not sure its a heart attack, have it checked out.

Minutes matter. Fast action can save lives – maybe your own.

if you experience heart attack warning signs. Calling 911 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment.

An emergency medical services team can begin treatment when they arrive up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. EMS staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too.

For many reasons, its best to call 911 so that an experienced EMS team can begin treatment and arrange rapid transport to the emergency room.

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Heart Attacks Striking Younger Women

Younger women are having more heart attacks, says a recent study.Researchers were surprised to find that while the heart attack rate hasdecreased among older adults, its risen among those ages 35-54, especiallywomen. TheAtherosclerosis Risk in Communities studyreviewed more than 28,000 hospitalizations for heart attacks in fourcities.

This observational study found a trend in young women, saysVirginia Colliver, M.D., cardiologist withJohns Hopkins Community Physicians-Heart Carein Bethesda, Maryland. But the research doesnt provide insight into whythe uptick in heart attacks is happening to younger people. I suspect ithas to do with more people having risk factors for heart disease at anearlier age.

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When To Schedule A Heart Scan

Mayo Clinic Minute: Women’s heart attack symptoms vary

Knowing your risk factors for heart disease can help you lower your chances of developing it. If you have several risk factors, you may need a heart scan to check your coronary arteries.

If you have multiple risk factors for coronary artery disease, you may need a heart scan. A heart scan is a quick, inexpensive test to check for signs of coronary artery disease. Its simple and noninvasive and it could even be lifesaving. Learn more about our $49 heart scans.

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Other Potential Heart Attack Signs

Heart attack signs look different for everyone, although there are a few common ones to watch for.

  • Neck, jaw, arm, and back pain: Pain radiating to your jaw, back, neck, or arms may signal a heart condition, especially if the origin is hard to pinpoint. For example, you might feel pain, but no specific muscle or joint aches. If the discomfort begins or worsens when you are exerting yourself, and then stops when you quit exercising, you should also get it checked out.
  • Unexpected sweating: During menopause, many women experience hot flashes. However, sudden or excessive sweating associated with other symptoms such as nausea or chest pressure can also be a heart attack sign. Stress sweat when there is no real cause for stress, or sweating or shortness of breath accompanied by other symptoms, such as chest pain or fatigue, can be cause for concern.
  • Chest pain: Chest pain/pressure is a very common heart attack sign, but can feel different than you might think. We need to dig deeper into the symptom of chest pain for both men and women as it relates to heart attacks, Dr. Cho says. It is seldom as dramatic as you might think, and it can feel like pressure or heart burn that comes on over time.

How Can You Keep Your Heart Healthy

Now that we know just how serious an issue this is, its important to know what you can do to keep your heart as healthy as possible. And, while its true that everyone has a heart, its also important to know that womens heart health is different from mens.

Heart issues in young women: During childbearing years, women have increased estrogen levels. This helps prevent cholesterol buildup in your arteries, which can decrease your risk of developing heart disease. However, when pregnant, a woman can develop pregnancy-related diabetes or high blood pressure, which can put you at increased risk for heart disease.

To help your heart health at a younger age, you can:

  • Keep an eye on it: Especially if you experienced one of those pregnancy-related conditions we just mentioned, keep on top of it with your doctor and keep a close eye on your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
  • Eat right: Its never too early to start a heart-healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains.
  • Work on your fitness: Most experts recommend 150 minutes of exercise per week in bursts of at least 10 minutes at a time to keep your cardiovascular system in shape.
  • Dont smoke: Dont start smoking, and if you currently smoke, try to quit as soon as possible, while youre younger and less damage has been done.

Signs of heart attack in women over 40: As your estrogen levels decrease during and after menopause, your risk of heart disease increases.

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Heart Attack Symptoms In Women

If you have any of these signs, call 911 and get to a hospital right away.

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • As with men, womens most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
  • Do Hormones Affect Your Risk Of A Heart Attack

    Heart Attack Symptoms: Men vs. Women

    Many women use prescription hormone drugs for birth control or for reducingsymptoms of menopause . Could thesedrugs jeopardize your heart health?

    “Birth control pills can increase your risk of having a blood clot, eitherin the heart or in the legs, and they can also raise your blood pressure.So, if you have a history of high blood pressure or clotting problems,other types of contraception might be a better fit for you,” says Colliver.”But for most young women, it’s safe to take birth control medication.”

    Colliver notes that women over the age of 50 are at an increased risk forheart disease and should completely avoid estrogen and progesterone drugs,if possible. “If your overall risk of heart attack is extremely low and youdesperately need relief from hot flashes and other postmenopausal symptoms,then hormone replacement therapy may be fine for you,” says Colliver. “Butafter the age of 65, we really try to avoid using them at all because theydo increase the risk of heart disease and potentially breast cancer.”

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