Is It Indigestion or a Heart Attack?

The symptoms of a heart attack in women are often more subtle than in men, and can be easily confused with stress, fatigue or simply not feeling well.

To that end, many women don’t even realize they’re experiencing a heart attack—and they miss the opportunity to seek immediate, life-saving medical attention. In fact, heart disease has become the number one killer of women in San Diego County, surpassing cancer and all other medical conditions.

All women should become familiar with both the classic, recognizable signs of heart attack, as well as the less obvious warning signs.

Heart attack symptoms experienced by men and women:

  • Crushing pain or pressure in the center of the chest
  • Pain or tightness that spreads to the back, neck, shoulder, jaw, or arms
  • Severe shortness of breath

Women may also experience one or more of the following symptoms of heart attack:

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Weakness
  • Indigestion
  • Anxiety
  • Cold sweat
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

If you think you are having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately. The longer someone goes without treatment following the onset of symptoms, the greater the risk of damage to the heart—which could lead to serious medical conditions like congestive heart failure—and the greater the chance of death.

Looking for a heart specialist?

If you need a referral to a cardiologist, call 1-800-SCRIPPS (800-727-4777). For more information about Scripps heart care capabilities, visit

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