What are the Different Female Heart Attack Symptoms?

B. Miller

Female heart attack symptoms can differ greatly from male heart attack symptoms, and even some doctors still do not recognize the symptoms. For this reason, it is important for all women to be proactive, and make note of possible symptoms so they can recognize them and seek immediate medical attention. In fact, some female heart attack symptoms may occur weeks before the actual heart attack, giving women valuable time to seek medical help. Do not wait even a few minutes to call for help if symptoms appear.

Some heart attack symptoms may occur weeks before the actual heart attack.
Some heart attack symptoms may occur weeks before the actual heart attack.

When most people think of heart attack symptoms, they immediately think of chest pain. While it is true that chest pain can be a symptom of both male and female heart attacks, women often do not experience any chest pain at all during a heart attack. In general, if there is even the slightest possibility that one might be experiencing a heart attack, call an ambulance and deal with any potential embarrassment later.

The most common female heart attack symptoms include extreme fatigue.
The most common female heart attack symptoms include extreme fatigue.

Some of the most common female heart attack symptoms include a feeling of nausea or indigestion in the upper abdominal area, lightheadedness or fainting, shortness of breath, and a feeling of extreme fatigue over the entire body. Pain in the left arm may occur as well. These symptoms may be accompanied by a feeling of tightness, fullness, or pressure in the chest, which may remain localized or may spread to the shoulder or jaw. Back pain may occur as a symptom as well.

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Smoking can increase a person's chances of having a heart attack.
Smoking can increase a person's chances of having a heart attack.

Keep in mind that all of these female heart attack symptoms may not occur together in the event of a heart attack; only one or two symptoms may occur, and it could still be leading up to a fatal heart attack. It is important to not ignore any potential female heart attack symptoms, and again, if in doubt, call an ambulance and get to the emergency room. Be clear to the doctors on duty that you feel you may be having a heart attack.

It is always best not to drive oneself to the hospital, because the possibility of fainting and getting into a car accident still exists. In addition, doctors are more likely to respond more quickly to someone who arrives by ambulance than someone who arrives alone or in a taxi. Experts often recommend chewing an aspirin tablet if one is having heart attack symptoms; this can help to keep the blood flowing around a potential blockage in the heart.

Chest pain, nausea, and lightheadedness may all be symptoms of a heart attack.
Chest pain, nausea, and lightheadedness may all be symptoms of a heart attack.

Discussion Comments

SarahGen

I think women do experience chest pain during a heart attack but it's not always a very powerful pain that's debilitating as it is in men. Chest pain in women may just be discomfort or the feeling of pressure on the heart. Sometimes people confuse it with acid reflux.

bear78

@candyquilt-- You are right. I think that's why some women never seek treatment for minor heart attacks. They may not even know that it occurred until a more serious and detrimental heart attack takes place. These minor heart attacks with few or no symptoms still damage the heart.

Contrary to what most people think, checking for a heart attack is fairly easy. It just involves an EMG and blood test. So it doesn't hurt to get checked out despite being sure or not about a heart attack. It's better to be safe than sorry.

candyquilt

These symptoms are unfortunately very common with many different causes. So I think that it's difficult for a woman to know whether a heart attack is occurring or not. And many will not take the symptoms seriously or will associate them with something else.

I have back problems and diabetes. So if I have fatigue and back pain, heart attack is certainly not going to be the first thing that comes to my mind.

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