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The Symptoms of Heart Attack in Women

Last updated 4 years ago

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, and nearly the same number of women and men die each year due to this condition. Despite the prevalence of heart disease among women, many are unaware of their risk and don’t know that heart attack symptoms differ between men and women. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call 911 and seek immediate emergency care at your local hospital.

Chest Pain or Pressure

As with men, women commonly experience chest pain or discomfort. Uncomfortable pressure or a feeling of squeezing or fullness in the center of the chest is another symptom of a heart attack. Some describe feeling as though an elephant were sitting across their chest. These sensations may last for several minutes or come and go. Women are also more likely than men to experience chest pain that is sharp or burning, rather than dull. However, it’s important for women to know they can experience a heart attack without any chest pain or pressure.

Pain in Other Areas

Women frequently experience pain in the neck, jaw, or throat during a heart attack. Pain in one or both arms may also occur. Another sign of heart attack in women is pressure or pain in the stomach, upper abdomen, or upper back.

Shortness of Breath

Extreme shortness of breath is not uncommon among women. Some women say they were so short of breath, they felt as though they had run a marathon. This and other symptoms of a heart attack can occur while you are at rest, arise during physical activity, or even be triggered by mental stress.

Nausea or Lightheadedness

Women are also somewhat more likely than men to experience dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, nausea, or vomiting. Breaking out in a cold sweat is another warning sign of a heart attack.

If you believe you are experiencing a heart attack or other medical emergency, call 911 for immediate medical attention. Fawcett Memorial Hospital in Port Charlotte has received recognition as an Accredited Chest Pain Center with Percutaneous Coronary Intervention by the Society of Chest Pain Centers. Our Emergency Care Center has state-of-the-art lifesaving equipment and is staffed by highly trained and skilled personnel. Call us at (888) 685-1599 for more information about our services.


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