Ask Dr. Angela: What are the symptoms of a heart attack in women?

  • September 2, 2014

Women often experience vaguer symptoms than men – not the classic crushing chess pain radiating down one arm.

For women, there are six symptoms that are common. You may not get them all, but if you get more than one with chest discomfort call 911.

  1. Chest pain or discomfort that may feel like squeezing or fullness anywhere in the chest. It is usually quite uncomfortable – like a vise being tightened.
  2. Women more often get a pain in their arms, back neck or jaw. The pain can be gradual or sudden. It may wax and wane before becoming intense.
  3. It’s easy to confuse stomach pain that signals a heart attack with heartburn, the flu or a stomach ulcer. But if you are experiencing severe abdominal pressure or pain, you need to contact our office.
  4. You can be having a heart attack if for no apparent reason you experience shortness of breath, nausea or lightheadedness. This combined with any other symptom, means you must take action.
  5. Breaking out in nervous, cold sweat often indicates a heart attack. It feels different than perspiration from exercise, the heat or hot flashes. You need to get it checked out.
  6. Some women who have heart attacks experience extreme fatigue even if they are not doing anything. They often feel this fatigue in their chest.

Remember — heart attacks are one of the top killers of women. This is because they often do not get the immediate care that can save their lives.

Please don’t take any chances. If you believe you are having a heart attack contact 911 immediately.

And do whatever you can to prevent heart disease – regular doctor visits, exercise, diet and taking medicine if you need it.