Heart Attack Symptoms in Women

Heart attack symptoms in women are different from heart attack symptoms in men.  Common symptoms are pain in the chest.  Pain is in the center of the chest and moves upward.  The chest feels heavy and the pain moves towards the left arm from in between the breasts. There is pain over the upper back.  Sometimes the same pain is noticed in the neck region moving towards the jaw.

While more women than men die of heart disease, women undergo fewer cardiac surgical procedures.  A recent discovery is that a women’s heart and capillaries tend to be smaller than men’s. This has lead to a redesigning of catheters and devices used in angioplasty and other procedures to meet women’s needs.

These silent attacks lack the majority of the usual symptoms of a standard heart attack but can still be recognized through ordinary signs such as discomfort in your chest, arms or jaw that seem to go away after resting, fatigue or extreme tiredness, nausea, sweating (particularly cold sweat), breathlessness and dizziness. An interesting statistic is that 25-30% of all heart attacks are silent.

This intuition to seek care when something is wrong may also be a part of the problem. Women tend to seek treatment more often than men do so their doctors may be less likely to think this is a serious condition than they would if the tables were turned.

It occur more often in men than women.  Because there are less cases of myocardial infarction (MI) in women, the fact that symptoms of this condition are different in women has only been realized recently.

According to the NIH, 95 percent of women they surveyed said they knew their symptoms were new or different a month or more before their coronary attack struck.

Doctors still don’t know the importance of the symptoms women reported a month or more before their attacks. These may someday be used to predict an upcoming heart problem. Many people have these symptoms. If you asked, millions of people would probably admit to being tired, having trouble sleeping, being short of breath, having indigestion and anxiety.

Though in case of men, it could be the beginning of Angina, indicated by chest discomfort or pain. In females this may not be the case. Those that are old in age and suffer from diabetes, may show up new symptoms of angina. This could begin with shortness of breath and anxiety.

However, if we look at the wide range of symptoms (for men and women), women may be more likely to have pain not in their chests but maybe in their shoulders or between their shoulder blades and may have more of GI symptoms, meaning nausea or vomiting or feeling of an upset stomach.