• Printer Friendly Version
  • Decrease Text Size
  • Increase Text Size
  • PDF

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Women Can Have Heart Attacks, Too: Signs You Should Know

Posted By: Advancing Care

Medically reviewed by Amala Chirumamilla, MD

Heart attacks aren't discriminatory — they can affect anyone, regardless of gender. However, the signs of a heart attack in women can sometimes differ from the classic symptoms often portrayed in the media. Understanding these signs is crucial for timely intervention and potentially life-saving actions.

Heart disease in women

What to Look For:

  • Unusual chest discomfort: While chest pain is a common heart attack symptom for both genders, women may experience different sensations such as pressure, tightness or discomfort rather than sharp pain.
  • Pain in unusual areas: Instead of the classic chest-centric pain, women might feel discomfort in their back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath: Feeling breathless or experiencing difficulty breathing, especially without physical exertion, could signal an impending heart problem.
  • Unexplained fatigue: If this doesn't improve with rest, it could be a sign of an underlying heart issue in women. Fatigue might occur days or weeks before an actual heart attack.
  • Nausea or vomiting: This can often be mistaken for other conditions. When accompanied by other symptoms, it could be indicative of a heart problem.
  • Sweating: Sudden, unexplained sweating, especially if it's profuse and unrelated to physical activity or environmental temperature, could be a warning sign.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness: Feeling dizzy or lightheaded without a clear cause might also indicate a heart problem.
Amala Chirumamilla, MD
Amala Chirumamilla, MD

Learn to Recognize the Signs

It might not always be left arm and chest pains — recognizing the signs of a heart attack in women is crucial for prompt medical attention. Being aware of these warning signals can potentially save lives and ensure timely intervention to prevent severe complications from a heart attack.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, seek immediate help by calling 9-1-1. Request an appointment at WMCHealth’s Heart and Vascular Institute by calling 866.WMC.HEART or Bon Secours Medical Group Cardiology at 866.962.4327.