A Answers (9)
Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answeredWatch this video to learn more from Dr. Mehmet Oz about heart disease.
American Heart Association answered
Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, as with men women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure. Women may also experience these symptoms:
- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that 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
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. If you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help.
Call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.
Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, Cardiology, answered
Common symptoms of a heart attack in women include chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, jaw and back pain. Watch cardiologist Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, describe these signs and what to do if you think you are having an episode.
Recognizing the symptoms of heart attack in women may not always be as clear-cut as it is for men. The most prominent symptoms that are sure signs of trouble that women should keep an eye out for are:
- Pressure, tightness, fullness, and discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or comes and goes in waves
- Pain or pressure that spreads to the shoulders, between the shoulder blades, neck, upper back, jaw, or arms
- Jaw or throat pain
- Crushing chest pain
- Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
- Nausea and/or dizziness
- Cold sweat
- Overwhelming fatigue or weakness
- Abdominal pain
Women often mistakenly think only severe chest pain is a symptom of a heart attack and delay seeking medical care. Many patients say they feel that doctors didn’t take them or their symptoms seriously. Be persistent. You know your body and when you aren’t feeling well. Seek the medical attention you need and deserve.
In a Gallup survey, 88% of primary care physicians were not aware that women's heart-attack symptoms might differ greatly from men's symptoms. In addition, emergency room (ER) physicians miss the signs of a heart attack much more often in women under 55 than in men under 55, according to a recent study published in "The New England Journal of Medicine."
Signs and symptoms of heart attack in women include:
- Chest discomfort
- Pain spreading to the jaw, neck, shoulders, or arm
- Shortness of breath
- Indigestion or gas-like pain
- Unexplained weakness or fatigue
- Discomfort or pain between the shoulder blades
- Sense of impending doom
The symptoms that present in women are generally more subtle than those that present in men, causing many women to ignore them. Should you or a loved one experience the following symptoms, please take them seriously:
- Feeling unusually tired
- Feeling pressure in the middle of the back, between the shoulder blades, especially walking up a hill
- Breaking out in a cold sweat
- Experiencing sleep disturbance, indigestion, and anxiety
- Feeling band-like pressure commonly described as “bra too tight.”
If you believe you or a loved one is having a heart attack, please call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest emergency department immediately. Women tend to delay going to ED, compared with men having heart attacks. Remember, time is muscle - the faster one reaches the ED, the less potential heart damage.
American Red Cross answeredWomen are more likely to have sudden, sharp-but-short-lived pain outside the breastbone during a heart attack. They also may experience shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, back or jaw pain, and unexplained fatigue or malaise.
Symptoms of heart attack may be different in women. That’s why understanding the symptoms of a woman’s heart attack is important. Getting immediate medical treatment is vital to avoid serious problems or death with heart attack.Until the age of 55, men are much more likely than women to have a heart attack. But a woman’s risk of heart attack goes up sharply after menopause. A woman’s heart attack may not start with a sudden pain. Instead, the heart attack may start mildly or cause discomfort. A woman may feel uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain that may come and go. In addition, a woman with a heart attack may have shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort. Other signs may include upper back pain and upper abdominal pain, nausea, light-headedness and sweating.
The symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain or discomfort that may radiate to the neck, arm, jaw or back. These symptoms are similar to the most common symptoms men get. However, women more often than men can have shortness of breath, GI symptoms (heartburn, acid reflux, nausea or vomiting), back pain or fatigue as their only symptom of a heart attack.