Heart Attack Symptoms In Women: 7 Subtle Warning Signs Your Body Gives You Before An Attack

Heart Attack Symptoms In Women: 7 Subtle Warning Signs Your Body Gives You Before An Attack

Apart from chest pain, there are many less obvious signs to look out for that can serve as a warning to women.

Image Source: Conceptual illustration representing two hands holding an anatomic heart/Getty Images

A heart attack is one of the leading causes of death and strikes someone, on average, about every 43 seconds, according to the American Heart Association. Cardiovascular disease is estimated as the number one threat to women's health. It gives us all the more reason to be wary and aware of heart attacks and warnings that our body gives us. First, we need to understand what it means to have a heart attack. It occurs when the blood flow carrying brings oxygen to the heart muscle, is severely reduced or cut off completely. The blockage often happens because of a buildup of fat, cholesterol, and other substances, which form a plaque in the arteries. This plaque eventually breaks away and forms a clot. The plaque eventually starts disintegrating and forms a clot. The blood flow is hampered and can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle.


It's important women pay more attention to the health of their heart as cardiovascular diseases claim as many lives of women as that of those affected by chronic lower respiratory disease, diabetes, and cancer combined. While we associate heart attacks with massive pressure and pain in our chest, there are less obvious signs that could serve as warnings about a heart attack. Here are a few you should keep an eye out for:
1. Pressure on your chest

An adult woman clutching heart in pain - stock photo

Feeling extreme, uncomfortable pressure on your chest is a symptom for both men and women. While one can also experience a heart attack without chest pain, it's common to experience chest pain. You tend to feel like a ton of weight on your chest and feel like your heart's being squeezed tight. The pain stays for a few minutes before subsiding and disappearing. There are chances the pain recurs again. “Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure,” said Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health at NYU’s Langone Medical Center.

2. Digestive issues

The Office on Women's Health (OWH) has reported that indigestion, vomiting, or experiencing nausea are also symptoms of a heart attack. It is important to pay heed to such symptoms when they don't arise from other sources, such as consuming bad food. 

3. Pain in your arms, neck, jaw, and back

Exhausted businesswoman sitting at desk in office with closed eyes - stock photo

When your heart experiences problems, it often triggers nerves that can cause you to feel pain in unrelated parts of your body including your jaw, back, or arms, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Pain often comes without physical exertion and tends to start in the chest area before spreading to other parts like your lower or upper back. When you experience pain in your jaw, it's almost always on the left, lower side of it. 

4. Shortness of breath

Asian woman with shortness of breath sick at home./Getty Images


Each individual tends to experience a different set of symptoms when it comes to heart attacks. One of the other common symptoms reported is shortness of breath, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). In some cases, one can feel intense chest pain along with shortness of breath. It can happen irrespective of whether you are active or in a state of rest.   

5. Cold sweat

One of the more common and well-known symptoms of a heart attack is breaking into a cold sweat. You need to take note if you start sweating without any exertion, or feel cold and clammy suddenly. Sweating out of stress is also considered a symptom of a heart attack. 

6. Extreme fatigue

Young woman sleeping on backseat of car - stock photo/Getty Images


Given how patriarchal society is, the majority of the women end up multitasking and balancing between work and family. Women tend to feel fatigued after a long day of work, but if you feel extremely fatigued despite not changing your routine, then it could be a symptom of a heart attack. 

7. Dizziness
Another symptom of heart attack is to feel light-headed or dizzy suddenly. Some women have reported that they felt like they stood up too fast. A heart attack unlikely to make you unconscious but it starts out with dizziness.

If you notice these signs or a combination of them, please call 911 and report them. Stay calm and take deep slow breaths until emergency services arrive. 




Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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