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What Are the Symptoms Of Heart Attack In Women?

Medically reviewed by Lauren Labrador, MD, FPCP, DPCC · Cardiology

Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Dec 04, 2022

What Are the Symptoms Of Heart Attack In Women?

What are the symptoms of a heart attack in woman? Women may not always feel the same heart attack symptoms as men do. While they might surely experience the classic signs of a heart attack, such as severe chest pain spreading down one arm, many women also experience ambiguous or even “silent” symptoms that they may not be aware of.

Common risk factors of cardiovascular disease in women are age, family history, comorbid illnesses, like hypertension, diabetes, and abnormal cholesterol levels, smoking history, sedentary lifestyle. Other risk factors include oral contraceptive therapies and post-menopausal hormone therapies.

Symptoms of a heart attack in women

Proper history and physical examination are warranted. it is also encouraged to do risk stratification for ischemic heart disease in women suspect of having cardiac symptoms

Chest pain or discomfort

Some women may experience chest pain differently than men. When having a heart attack, the pain can be felt anywhere in the chest, not just on the left side.

This type of pain is more prevalent in women than in men, which may be confusing for women who anticipate their pain to be concentrated on their chest and left arm rather than their back or jaw.

The pain can be gradual or sudden, and it may wax and wane before becoming intense. If you’re asleep, it may wake you up. You should report any “not typical or unexplained” symptoms in any part of your body above your waist to your doctor.

Stomach pressure

Some women experience severe abdominal pressure that feels like an elephant is sitting on their stomach.

Digestive issues

Other times, women experience heartburn, the flu, or a stomach ulcer.

Difficulty breathing

If you’re experiencing difficulty breathing without apparent cause, nausea, or dizziness, it’s conceivable that you’re having a heart attack, especially if you’re also experiencing one or more additional symptoms.


“It can feel like you ran a marathon but didn’t move.” Some heart attack sufferers describe feeling so fatigued that they are unable to carry out basic functions like using the restroom. This is true even if they have been sitting still for some time or haven’t moved about much.

In summary, signs of heart in women may include shortness of breath that may or may not be accompanied by chest discomfort, uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the middle of your chest, and pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach. Additional indications are cold sweats, nausea, or lightheadedness.

Women may experiences symptoms weeks or months leading up to a heart attack. Be acutely aware of certain symptoms and seek medical treatment immediately for a doctor to confirm a diagnosis and provide a treatment/ prevention plan.

What not to do if you’re having a heart attack

  • Do not eat or drink anything besides your medication if you believe you are having a heart attack. Head to the hospital immediately. 
  • Even if you think your symptoms are not serious or will go away, the risks are too big. Don’t wait to get help and go to the hospital. But avoid going to the hospital by yourself. Call someone to assist you or call an ambulance. Driving increases your chance of getting into an accident and hurting yourself or someone else.

Key Takeaways

Women typically exhibit distinct heart attack symptoms than males, and they also have more risk factors, making a heart attack a serious and potentially fatal medical event that needs rapid treatment.

There are numerous measures that women may take to lower their chance of having a heart attack. Being aware of these symptoms, particularly in the weeks leading up to the event, can also improve outcomes and avoid problems.

Learn more about Heart Failure here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Lauren Labrador, MD, FPCP, DPCC


Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Dec 04, 2022

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