How to Recognize Women's Heart Attack Symptoms

Heart disease is the #1 cause of death among women

It takes the lives of nearly twice as many women as all forms of cancer combined, yet many women know very little about their heart health.


It’s a common misconception that heart disease primarily affects men. While it is true that more men than women die from heart disease, the death rate among men has steadily declined during the past 25 years. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for women.


Moreover, women age 45 and younger are more likely than men to die within a year of their first heart attack. Among women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease, 64 percent have no prior symptoms.

line

Symptoms specific to women

Women tend to have subtler symptoms, and they may begin up to a month before the heart attack. Symptoms include:


  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Pressure, or tightness in the center of the chest
  • Pain that spreads to the upper body, neck or jaw
  • Unusual sweating, nausea or vomiting
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Problems sleeping


Because many of these symptoms can be associated with common illnesses such as the flu, women are more likely to brush them off or assume something less serious is going on — and that can be a serious or even fatal mistake. If you experience these symptoms, don’t ignore them. Play it safe and call 911. The sooner you get treatment, the greater the chances of recovery.

line

Experiencing heart problems or just concerned about your heart health?


Contact us today and we'll help you find the right specialist for you: 858-771-2599

line

Heart attack risk factors in women

Poulina Uddin, MD

Poulina Uddin, MD

Heart attack risk factors in women

“Even when women do have warning signs of a heart attack, they often are very different than the symptoms men experience,” says Poulina Uddin, MD, a cardiologist with Scripps Women’s Heart Center. “Both men and women may feel chest pain or break out in a cold sweat during a heart attack, but that is where most of the similarities end.”


“Women also have risk factors that don’t affect men, such as developing diabetes or high blood pressure during pregnancy,” says Dr. Uddin. “Also, hormones such as estrogen may play a role in protecting women from heart disease; after menopause, that protection disappears.”

line

Scripps Women's Heart Center

Doctors

Scripps Women's Heart Center

We take women’s care to heart. From preventing heart disease to treating heart problems due to cancer or menopause, you can find the care you need at Scripps.


The Scripps Women’s Heart Center brings together specialists in women’s heart disease, the most advanced technology and the nationally recognized expertise of Scripps. Our female cardiologists are experts in cardiology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, echocardiography and nuclear cardiology, which brings a unique and holistic approach to women's heart care that includes mind, body and spirit.